OAKLAND – It was a single quote, and all through August and into September it stuck to Klay Thompson’s image like a wad of gum to the sole of his sneakers.
I’m not sacrificing (bleep), because my game isn’t changing.
Thompson was responding in a Yahoo Sports article to questions about the “sacrifices” others might have to make with the addition of four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant. Though he said much more, it was those nine words that splashed across various sports media outlets.
So, on Monday, as the Warriors assembled for the annual Media Day that precedes the opening of training camp, Thompson revisited the issue in an attempt to clarify.
“When you acquire the talent we did this off season, “ he began, “I don't think that's a sacrifice at all. I think that we are in an amazing position to do things that haven't been done here.
“So I'm not talking about points per game or minutes or shots, I'm really not sacrificing anything because you don't sacrifice when you acquire a player like Kevin Durant and get people like David West. I think we really got stronger, which is hard to imagine because we had such a great year last year.
“That's what I meant by that, though.”
The original quote lingered partly because Thompson’s reputation as a gunner and partly because he seemed to imply Durant’s acquisition would have no bearing on his numbers.
Thompson on Monday expressed excitement with the addition of Durant, who by joining Stephen Curry and Thompson gives the Warriors perhaps the three best shooters in the NBA – and unquestionably the three best on one team.
The Thompson-Durant relationship grew exponentially over the summer because they were teammates on Team USA’s gold-medal winning squad in the Rio games.
“I got to know him off the court, which was really cool,” Thompson said of Durant. “I didn't really learn anything I didn't know from the basket player that he was, just a guy that really loves the game. He’s very unselfish. And he could have one of the biggest egos there, but he's really down to earth.”
What Thompson is saying now, upon reflection, carries credibility largely because he was among the four Warriors players – with Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Curry – who flew across country to recruit Durant to the Bay Area.
For the record, here is the “provocative” original quote, in its entirety:
“I feel kind of disrespected that people keep using the term sacrifice to describe me and describe us. We all want to see each other do well. But I’m not sacrificing (expletive), because my game isn’t changing. I’m still going to try to get buckets, hit shots, come off screens. I want to win and have a fun time every game we play.
“The NBA season can get mundane; 82 games are so long and there can be some boredom. Now, we can embrace being the hated team and getting everyone’s best, and adding some tension every night. It’ll be a fun experience going into arenas on the road, with opposing fans hating what we’ve built.”