Washington State University gave Klay Thompson a fitting tribute Saturday.
The Cougars officially retired the number that Thompson, a two-time NBA champion and five-time All-Star with the Warriors, wore for three seasons in Pullman from 2008 through 2011. Thompson's No. 1 was raised to the Beasley Coliseum rafters in a halftime ceremony of Saturday's game between Washington State and Oregon State.
"I just wanna thank everyone who came out," Thompson told the sellout crowd. "This is very special. No matter what uni I put on -- hopefully a [Warriors' jersey] for the rest of my career -- I will always be a Coug. ... I'm so grateful for where basketball has taken me. It's taken me to China, Brazil, New Zealand, Spain -- it's taken me around the world, but there's nowhere like Pullman. There's nowhere like the Palouse."
Thompson brought an entourage, with longtime Warriors teammates Steph Curry and Zaza Pachulia sitting courtside with Thompson on his big day. Thompson's father, Mychal, was also in attendance, as was Warriors owner Joe Lacob and director of basketball operations Jonnie West.
Zaza getting Klay ready is perfect 🤣 pic.twitter.com/qt21lsTnyg— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) January 18, 2020
Curry, Thompson's fellow Splash Brother on the Warriors, seemed particularly moved by the proceedings. When Kerith Burke asked Curry if the two-time MVP's career would the same without Thompson, he had a quick answer.
"No, not a chance," Curry said on the Pac-12 Network broadcast. "The situation is everything, and when you draft a guy like Klay from Washington State with so much potential but with the personality that he has, and us being able to develop together with [Draymond Green], [Andre Iguodala] and guys that have been there from Day 1, it's truly special. To be here and celebrate him, it means a lot."
Recruited by current University of Virginia coach Tony Bennett to come to Pullman, Thompson was a three-year starter for the Cougars. He averaged 17.9 points per game, hitting a then-school record 242 3-pointers.
Bennett, former Washington State coach Ken Bone, Cougars teammate Brock Motum and current Warriors coach Steve Kerr spoke in a video honoring Thompson before he addressed the crowd. Current Cougars guard Isaac Bonton arguably paid the most fitting tribute to Thompson, nailing a deep, buzzer-beating 3-pointer just before halftime.
Thompson, who kissed the logo at halfcourt and thanked the student section, would love to go home with a Cougars win.