An outstanding article on Klay Thompson written by Ramona Shelburne for ESPN gives great insight into his work ethic and humility that has made him such an important part of the Golden State championship run. You can read the entire article here but below are some of my take aways including his drive to constantly get in the gym and improve his shot:
Day after day, sometimes deep into the night, Gardner would hone Thompson's shooting form into the fundamentally perfect quick release you see today. There was a drill in which Gardner would drop a hula hoop over Thompson's head at a 45-degree angle as he shot so he would stay straight up and down. Another drill in which Thompson would shoot with a hat on to keep his head steady and trust where the ball was, without looking at it. And, of course, the drill in which Gardner would hold a towel and rubber bands below Thompson's arms, to keep his top half high without bringing the ball down -- ever.
"I had Klay from such a young age, it really helped," Gardner says. "And he still comes by to work. He'll just show up out of the blue at my house, like, 'I wanted to get some shots up.'"
Warriors assistant coach Chris DeMarco has worked with Thompson personally since his rookie season. By now, DeMarco is used to the texts asking him to come back to the facility at night so Thompson can get up extra shots.
"More than anything, he just loves the game. He loves playing basketball, and he loves shooting," DeMarco says. "He's like a kid in the backyard, just playing for hours."
There's a simplicity of focus in all the characterizations of Thompson that's hard to reconcile with the flaky, laid-back guy who keeps losing his driver's license.
How can a person be so laser-focused on one thing and so unfocused on everything else?
Simple. Basketball matters deeply to him. The other stuff doesn't.
"I usually wake up, go to the facility, get breakfast, get my shots up. About 100," Thompson says casually. "I'll get stretched, ice tub, maybe get Subway. Play with [my dog] Rocco in the backyard. Take a nap. Go to the arena. Have fun. Hopefully we win. It's that simple. I do that 100 times a year."Coach Steve Kerr speaks to his coachability:
"I wish I was Klay Thompson," Kerr says. "I envy him. He doesn't really care what anybody thinks. But the way it manifests itself is so natural and normal. He just loves to play, he loves his days off, he loves getting outside, loves the beach.
"He's not low-maintenance. He's no-maintenance."On his ego:
"If he had a huge ego, this doesn't work," Warriors forward Draymond Green says flatly. "It just doesn't."
Those who know Thompson best say there is an ego in there. It just manifests itself differently than almost any other All-Star. He's ultracompetitive, yes, but without the chip on his shoulder.
"I have never heard Klay say, 'This is B.S. ... This guy is shooting too much, that guy won't pass, or I'm not getting enough looks,'" his agent, Greg Lawrence, says.On the importance of being on a successful team as opposed to individual honors:
"I used to actually get upset. Man, I should get more love," Thompson says. "Then I was just like ... none of that stuff really matters. As long as you go out there and ... you've got the best job in the world. You don't need to get gratification from the internet, or social media.
"Because you'll never find it, first of all. And you'll always find a lot of bad stuff. To me, as long as you play hard and have your dream job, shoot, I'll take that. That's all that matters to me."
"Everyone's like, 'Don't you want your own team? Don't you want to go be a star?'" Thompson says. "Man, winning trumps all. This is the only franchise I've ever known. It's not only about the individual accolades. Nowadays, because there's so much star power in the NBA, the team aspect kind of gets lost. But I'd rather be on a team that can make an imprint on history. We've already made an imprint, but it can be even greater. That's what drives me."