Klay Thompson knocked down four 3-pointers in the second half of Thursday night’s 123-110 win over the Miami Heat, but he wasn’t all smiles after the game as he had to address an all-time great.
Thompson said he had “one thing to say,” and proceeded to address recent comments from Hall of Famer and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley, who said on Tuesday night that Thompson’s play was “slipping” and that “he’s not the same guy” he used to be.
Thompson implored him to try a little empathy while he continues his recovery.
“It hurts when someone like Charles Barkley, with the platform he has, says you’re not the same player as prior to the injuries you had. It’s like, no duh, man,” Thompson said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “I tore my ACL and my Achilles in consecutive years and still helped a team win a championship. I mean, that hurt hearing that. Because it’s like, man, I put in so much freaking effort to get back to this point. Like, it’s hard to even put into words what I had to do to be the player I am today.
“I played 55, 57 games in three years, like, give me some freaking time to get that back. To hear someone say, ‘Oh, he’s not the same as he was prior to the injuries.’ Like, duh. Who goes through something like that and comes back? Like, I don’t know, it just hurt my heart hearing that. But, you know what? I’m gonna internalize it and it’s gonna be fuel for me to be even better. I’m very proud of what we accomplished last year, and I feel like I was a huge part of it. I’m not gonna let these injuries be a crutch for me. I’m just gonna keep going and I’m gonna have a great year. Bet on that.”
Due to his injuries, Thompson went from playing in Game 6 of the 2019 Finals to playing in his next one on Jan. 9, 2022. He averaged 20.4 points on 38.5 percent 3-point shooting in 32 games to finish the 2021-22 season.
He has gotten off to a rough start this year, which probably prompted the comments from Barkley.