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Klay Thompson proves NBA players can motivate themselves with anything

Puerto Rico v United States

Puerto Rico v United States

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Millions of people play basketball, but only a select few reach the NBA.

What separates the pros from the rest of us? Height, sure. But there’s also a mentality.

NBA players, with only rare exceptions, are hyper-competitive and confident. Just look how many players (who clearly aren’t) answer “me” when asked the game’s best player. It’s a delusion that helps them work toward that goal.

Another common trick: claiming underdog status at any chance. NBA players love to prove wrong the critics and haterz, even when there are no critics and haterz.

Klay Thompson, representing Team USA in the World Cup, has just taken that to a new level.

Thompson, via Marc Stein of ESPN:

A lot of people out there are writing us off


Nobody is writing Team USA off. Nobody.

Sure, some people might think Spain – with Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka and playing at home – will win. But there’s a huge difference between predicting a Spain victory and “writing off” the Americans, a bridge no one is crossing.

Objectively, the U.S. is 8/13 favorites to win the World Cup.

But this extremely inaccurate perception will motivate Thompson to play better, and that’s all that really matters. That quote was for himself, not for us.