“‘‘Man, I’ve been watching y’all for so long and been talking crazy, championship or bust'”


There were 941 days between Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals and Klay Thompson’s return to the court against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2021-22. The four-time champion suffered two devastating injuries that led to more than two years of basketball inactivity.

On an episode of the “Point Forward” podcast, Thompson revealed to Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner what went through his head before the game.

Here’s what the five-time All-Star had to say about that long-awaited night:

“That was the most nervous I’ve been for a basketball game, I think ever. That was crazy. That game still gives me chills to this day just ‘cause of the lead-off. I’ll never forget the shootaround, Dray [Green], Loon [Looney], Steph [Curry], JP [Poole].

“I was like, ‘Man, I’ve been watching y’all for so long and been talking crazy, championship or bust. I’m here to finally see it.’ Shoutout to Dub Nation, the fans really showed so much love.”

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When Klay Thompson last played in 2019, the NBA landscape was different. Kevin Durant was still his teammate, while Kawhi Leonard was the Toronto Raptors’ best player. Russell Westbrook and Paul George were the biggest names playing for the OKC Thunder.

When Thompson returned, KD was in Brooklyn, while Leonard and George were now teammates playing for the LA Clippers. Westbrook has been traded three times since Thompson went down in the 2019 NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors never gave an official return date for Thompson, keeping the pressure off him until he was ready. However, the build-up for “Klay Day” would soon dominate the NBA as fans anticipated the return of one of the league’s most beloved players.

He’s back 🤩Klay Thompson will return Sunday vs. the Cavaliers, he announced. https://t.co/qgqZBUhn0W

Rival teams and opponents would also join Dub Nation for the inevitable arrival of “Klay Day” in the NBA.

All eyes were on Chase Center when the Golden State Warriors announced that Thompson would return against the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 9, 2022.

After 941 days, “He’s backkk!” rang through the Warriors’ home floor, welcoming Thompson back into the NBA.


Klay Thompson showed the Golden State Warriors what they were missing in his first game back

Klay Thompson has now played in six straight NBA Finals.
Klay Thompson has now played in six straight NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors involved Klay Thompson early and often in the first quarter.

The shooting guard drove into the lane against a phalanx of Cavaliers defenders and made a floater. The basket shook Chase Center to the core as fans erupted in cheers.

Klay Thompson floater on his first possession back https://t.co/PjLkzCqa8x

The highlight of the night was Thompson’s rim-rattling dunk that officially declared his return to NBA action. It was a dunk so unexpected, particularly after all the injuries he had to go through, that fans were shaking their heads in disbelief.

With Thompson’s return, the Bay Area team is now complete. He was the piece that completed their Big 3, which included Steph Curry and Draymond Green. It also meant trouble for the rest of the NBA.

The Warriors have proven time and again that they are nearly unbeatable when healthy. The last time they lost when all three were playing was in the 2016 NBA Finals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.


Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh

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