Klay Thompson was not among the 15 players selected for the three All-NBA teams from the 2018-19 season, his last full campaign with the Warriors. In an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke, Thompson said the snub from that year's list "still kills me to this day."
"I've been feeling that way, whether it's being the third wheel, the fourth option, the fifth option, not making All-NBA, which still kills me to this day, especially for our playoff performances," Thompson said at Media Day on the Dubs Talk Podcast. "I've come to realize the All-NBA season voting is a regular-season award, so I'm not too bothered anymore.
"I always have a chip on my shoulder, it's not that I want recognition, but I want to have a long list of career achievements and enter the Hall of Fame as one of the all-time greats."
Thompson was second among the others receiving votes behind Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal.
The first-team All-NBA featured fellow Splash Brother Steph Curry and James Harden, while the second-team included Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard.
Thompson found out he was not included during a press conference just three days after the Warriors swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals, and took particular issue with Kemba Walker being one of the guards selected for the third-team along with Russell Westbrook.
"I mean that's cool and all, but like, when you go to five straight Finals -- I respect those guys, but when you go to five straight, it takes more than just a couple All-NBA guys," Thompson said. "It takes an all-time team. But whatever. I'd rather win a championship than be All-NBA."
Indeed, Walker and the Charlotte Hornets missed the playoffs that season, while Thompson and the Warriors won 57 games and finished with the NBA's second-best record.
As Thompson recognized, All-NBA teams are a regular-season award. Walker averaged 25.6 points, 5.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. Thompson finished the season averaging 21.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
Going by the advanced metrics, Walker's PER was 21.7, while Thompson's was 16.6.
Walker was the lowest vote-getter of all players named All-NBA that season, with 51 total. Beal's 34 votes made him the closest to cracking the final group, while Thompson ended up with 27.
Regardless, it is not suprising Klay still uses the award snub as a motivational tactic, especially considering he has been away from the court for so long.
Thompson is expected to return sometime during the 2021-22 NBA season, and hopes to capture his fourth NBA championship.