Mychal Thompson has won an NBA title – two, in fact, with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1987 and 1988 – and now his son, Klay, has an opportunity to win one as well.
“I’m pumped up, I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m anxious,” Thompson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I’m going through a spectrum of emotions.”
Including relief, as Klay has been cleared to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
“You never know with these concussions,” Thompson said. “Klay’s usually been a quick healer whenever he’s gotten hurt before, but when you’re dealing with the head, that’s something totally different. So we just had to talk to him and go day-by-day and just trust how he’s feeling. Being able to get back on the court was a very good sign.”
The Warriors will need Thompson to be at full strength when they take on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“They’re big,” Thompson said of the Cavs. “With (Timofey) Mozgof and LeBron and Tristan Thompson up front, (they have) three big, physical guys protecting the basket. LeBron’s a defender who can guard all five positions, so if Steph is getting hot, LeBron will say, ‘I got him.’ That’s the kind of great defender he is. He will take on even the little point guards like Steph. So they’re very good defensively, they rebound the ball very well, and of course with LeBron running the offense – and if Kyrie Irving is healthy – they got a lot of options on offense themselves. The Cavaliers are a very well-balanced team on both ends of the floor.”
While the Warriors are favorites to win the series, Thompson believes there’s pressure on both teams.
“You get this far – four games away, four wins away – it’s pressure on both teams to get it done,” he said. “You don’t want to ever come this far and then end up with only three wins or two wins while the other team gets four. So the pressure is on both teams. But of course the Warriors have been the best team all year. Sixty-seven wins, a team like that is expected to be in the Finals. And a team with LeBron on it is expected to be in the Finals, too. So both teams have a lot of pressure on them.”
Thompson’s best advice for his son is simple: Enjoy the moment, and focus entirely on the task at hand.
Oh, and turn off your phone.
“In this day and age, it’s a lot different than 25, 30 years ago when I was playing in these things,” Thompson said. “I would turn your phone off and don’t be distracted by all the ticket requests. People want to get a piece of you and get a piece of this action here and all this excitement. The best thing to do is just turn the phone off and ignore all your calls. Just answer your parents’ calls or your brother’s calls and ignore the other stuff because all the outside distractions can really get to you – because everybody wants to be a part of this. You have to remember that this is the toughest thing you’re ever going to have to do in your professional life is win a championship. So it’s best just to turn your phone off and to concentrate on your job.”