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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Klay Day reinvigorates the Golden State Warriors, their fans

Klay Thompson’s return means more than just basketball

By GABRIEL CARABELLO — sports@theaggie.org

On June 13, 2019, Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. This led to Thompson fully recovering from his major injury during the 2019-2020 NBA season. After recuperating from his ACL tear, many seemed hopeful that the three-time champ and five-time all-star would return during the 2020-2021 season. However, in November of that season, reports about Thompson sustaining an Achilles tear instantly pushed back his return, ultimately making Thompson miss two NBA seasons — a total of 177 games.

Fast forward to December 2021, news about a return — either later that month or early January 2022, started to circulate. Thompson’s return to the court was imminent. Many would say that the world changed so much since last seeing him play, and the Warriors nation was ecstatic.

Warriors fans couldn’t be more ready to see the other “Splash Brother” back in action. Peter Mazzotta, a UC Davis sophomore and Bay Area Native, was asked about the return. Mazzotta described the shooting guard’s comeback as “exciting.”

Mazzotta continued, “[I] missed seeing him [Klay]. It feels like a completed team. He was the missing part they needed.”

This sentiment was felt by many Warriors fans across the globe, displaying just how much Thompson’s absence meant to the longtime fan. He was more than just a player — he was a key part of their franchise’s history. Rumors settled on Jan. 8, as Klay Thompson took to Instagram to announce his comeback that on Jan. 9 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Klay Thompson was set to make his season debut.

After over a two-year injury hiatus, Thompson finally laced up his sneakers and set foot on the hardwood. Scoring 17 points off 18 shots and snagging three rebounds, Klay was finally back in front of his home crowd. During the post game interviews Thompson couldn’t be more joyous to return. 

“I’m just so happy right now,” Thompson said. “I did not shoot as well as I wanted to, but I am just so happy that I can even look at the stat sheet and see my name there and all the stats again.”

The positive emotions Thompson felt from just seeing his name on the score sheet, spread throughout the Warriors fanbase. Issac Appiah, a Bay Area native, basketball fan and Warriors fan, summed up how he felt after seeing Thompson make his debut. 

“I’m really happy to see him playing,” Appiah said. It’s almost nostalgic since it’s been so long.”

This feeling of nostalgia exemplifies the sentimentality Warriors fans have with Thompson. He’s done so much for the basketball club and individually accomplished so much. It only makes sense that a fan would feel this way after not seeing him play for two seasons. 

Thompson’s return is meaningful for Warriors fans from an emotional standpoint but now also adds another element to a Warriors team that is off to a great start this season

“Curry will have a high caliber three-point shooter to take pressure off him,” Appiah said.

With Thompson back in the line-up, everything seems good for the Western Conference contender Golden State Warriors. However, some questions still loom.

 Thompson said during his debut post-game interview that he did not shoot as well as he wanted to. Thompson still needs to get back into NBA game shape. Thompson is known for his shooting, but also as a great defender. Being in game shape is crucial for good defenders. Also, scoring 17 points off 18 shots isn’t exactly efficient, but after his long layoff, it is going to take time and patience before he gets his legs under him again. Another thing the Warriors must figure out is what his comeback means for the other players. Those who helped the Warriors get to where they are now like Jordan Poole, who stepped up during Thompsons absence, and has played well so far this season — how will the team maximize his role with another player taking shots. Will Thompson be able to relieve pressure off of Curry soon? 

Playoffs are still a while away, so there is ample time for the Warriors to work out these chemistry kinks. Warriors fans are now eager to see more of the reunited Splash Brothers and what’s to come for their favorite team, as Klay’s return marked a long time coming for everyone — the NBA included.

Written by: Gabriel Carabello — sports@theaggie.org

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