Don’t fall for the stories implying the Warriors, because they are so collaborative, are a team comprising individuals without ego. It’s an oft-implied crock, a myth that fits a particular and happy narrative.
So please dismiss the notion that Klay Thompson is without ego. If he were, he would not be a four-time All-Star. And he surely would not be so swaggeringly confident that every jump shot he takes, no matter the conditions or whether he has missed nine in a row, is destined to drop through the net.
Thompson, 28, has a keen awareness of his interests, and being individually celebrated for basketball is nowhere near the top of his list. Despite the bon vivant lifestyle conveyed through social media, his hoops motto is not “look at me” but “look at us.”
So when Thompson becomes a free agent next July -- unless he agrees to a prior extension -- he isn’t the type to shop himself with designs on being “that dude.” Those emotionally attached to the Warriors can take comfort when Thompson says, as he did a few days ago, that he wants to be a Warrior “for life.”
Thompson’s father, Mychal, whose NBA career lasted 13 years, took it step further.
“You can mark it down,” Mychal Thompson said over the weekend.
This is in accord with what I was told in a conversation with Mychal last month. In multiple chats over the past year, he has been firm in his belief that his son would re-sign with the Warriors.
It’s in line with what Klay told NBC Sports Bay Area last Sept. 29, saying he wanted to be a part of a group that could “be known as one of the greatest teams of our era.”
As Thompson’s incumbent team, the Warriors have the advantage. They can pay him more than any other team might offer. And he is amenable to taking a discounted contract -- though discounted only so much.
The Warriors have given every indication they understand Thompson’s value, which goes beyond the tangible. He has played for two NBA coaches, Mark Jackson and Steve Kerr, both of whom concluded Thompson requires zero maintenance. That attribute, folks, is rare and precious.
Growing up the middle son in a NBA household, Klay was taught to appreciate collective success. When he says he doesn’t take the prosperity of the Warriors for granted, as he often does, he means it.
Growing up between two athletic brothers, Mychel and Trayce, Klay learned teamwork in a very real sense. Julie Thompson is more reticent than her husband Mychal -- as is 99 percent of the world’s population -- but is, above all, a voice of reason. When she speaks, the family listens.
Since being drafted in 2011, Thompson has made six trips to the playoffs in seven seasons, missing only as a rookie. Of those six consecutive playoff appearances, the last four have landed the Warriors in the NBA Finals, with three championships to show for it. He has been the physical backbone of the squad, missing the fewest games and excelling on both offense and defense.
Thompson has had, by any measure, a charmed career. He knows this would not be true if not for the contributions of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Andre Igoudala, Shaun Livingston and a couple dozen others who wore the same jersey.
So when it’s time to put a name in big, bold letters atop the marquee, Klay would be the last Warrior to care. He doesn’t want it, partly because he doesn’t like it but mostly such trivialities give him no gratification.
Nah, he’d rather ride this wave for as long as it’s going.