OAKLAND – Klay Thompson typically is placid and mellow during interview sessions. Not on Friday morning.
Asked about a recent ESPN The Magazine article that portrays All-Star teammate Draymond Green as a valuable but disruptive — and potentially destructive — force with teammates and coaches, Thompson immediately narrowed his eyes and starting firing.
“That article pissed me off for this reason: If you’re going to call someone a coward, how are you not going to put your name to that quote?” Thompson began. “It’s easy to point to someone and call them a coward behind a shade of a shield. But why don’t you put your name to it? Then you can call us cowards. That’s fine. You can tell us that.
“But to say we played like cowards, and you’re not going to quote the guy who said it? That’s weak to me, man. How are you going to quote Mo (Speights) and not anybody else? That actually got under my skin, because you call us cowards but you’re not going to put your name to the quote? You know what I mean? You’re not going to quote who said it? You’re just going to say, oh, some executive said they’re cowards? Get out of here. That made me mad.”
To be fair, the unnamed source – described as a team official – did not use the word “cowards.” The use of ‘cowards’ by the writer, Ethan Sherwood Strauss, presumably is a parenthetical euphemism for another word that described the lack of grit and intensity. The official was quoted as saying the Warriors, with Green suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, “played like a bunch of (cowards)” without him.
That the official was not identified in the article clearly irritated Thompson, who also was depicted as a frequent target of Green’s harangues.
“We played our hearts out that whole playoffs, the whose season,” Thompson, clearly agitated, said, “and now you’re going to call us cowards? And not put your name on it? Get out of here.”
Asked if he was upset with Speights, who was quoted as saying Thompson was a frequent target of Green, Thompson said he was not.
“No, I don’t care,” he said.
The article portrayed the Warriors as a team that must make concessions for Green’s behavior, indicating that coach Steve Kerr’s authority with Green is at least somewhat compromised by the tolerance of the front office.
Thompson, though, was irate with being derogatorily labeled by an unnamed source.
“I’d respect it more if they came and said, ‘You guys played like cowards.’ You’d respect that more, instead of going to the media and talking,” Thompson said.
Thompson said some of his teammates are upset with the lack of attribution to the quote, but that he wouldn’t spend time and energy required to uncover the source.