Growing Up ... Mychel Thompson
By now, most fans know that he’s the oldest son of former Lakers star – and current radio color analyst – Mychal Thompson. One younger brother, Klay, was the 11th overall pick in this past NBA Draft. Beneath Klay is Trayce Thompson, who’s an outfielder in the White Sox farm system.
Mychel has had his share of athletic accomplishments. He started 24 of 32 games as a freshman at Pepperdine. He led the squad in three-pointers in all four years and led the team in both scoring and rebounding as a senior. The 6-6, 210-pounder was named All-WCC honorable mention in his final two college campaigns.
Undrafted in 2011, Thompson signed with the D-League’s Erie BayHawks. And after averaging nearly 20 points per contest in five games with Erie was invited to Cavaliers training camp – where he made the final roster two days before Cleveland’s home opener.
In this year’s first installment of Growing Up, Cavs.com takes a look at the lineage and life lessons learned by young Mychel Thompson …
I wanted to play basketball … ever since I could hold a ball.
When I was younger … and my dad was on the Lakers, I would run onto the court after the game and try to shoot. I couldn’t shoot but I’d try to with my little basketball. Ever since I could walk I was trying to dribble a basketball.
I don’t really remember much about the Lakers … because I was only around three or four when my dad was with the team. But I’ll see pictures and stuff comes back to me.
I was born … in L.A. but moved to Portland when I was four. And we moved back to L.A. when I was 16.
My dad was a Showtime Laker, but … I always just thought of him as Dad. But when we were out in public, fans would come up to talk to him or shake his hand. I didn’t really pay any attention. But it was cool, though.
I didn’t realize how big he was … until we went to the Bahamas, where they treat him there like he’s the president. Everyone loves him there.
I have two younger brothers … Klay, who plays for the Golden State Warriors and Trayce, who’s a minor league prospect with the Chicago White Sox.
We were … outside, basically, every day – whether it was playing, football, basketball or basketball.
I was a little bit older so … it’d be those two against me a lot. It was fun, though. We had a great childhood.
We put a few … holes in the wall and broke a few windows wrestling. We drove my mom a little crazy, but she was always there.
As a kid, I’d usually win … because I was older. But as we got older, maybe when I got to college and Klay was a high school senior and my other brother was a junior, we got real competitive.
Trayce played basketball and … he was good. When his high school team won State, he was a junior and Klay was a senior, and he started. But he never worked on basketball. He played it because he liked it, but baseball was his first love.
The only other sport … that I played was football. But I quit after fifth grade.
They had me playing … running back, and I wasn’t one of the bigger guys. So that was no fun.
I was actually better … at baseball when I was younger than basketball. But baseball got kinda boring. So I’ve stuck with basketball ever since. In baseball, you can go through an entire game and touch the ball once.
I’d have to say my best coach growing up … was Joedy Gardner, he was like my trainer in high school at Santa Margarita. He helped me and my brothers out a lot in high school – with shooting, ball-handling, everything. He was also my AAU coach when I got to California.
I remember my … first dunk. It was in an AAU game, maybe when I was a sophomore – about 15 or 16. And it was an and-1 because the guy kinda hit me in the back.
When I was that age … I was really skinny – maybe 6-3, 160. I was so skinny and underdeveloped I probably stopped growing when I got into college. So it took me a while to start being able to jump and stuff. But I had a dunk later that game, too.
I didn’t think about it … I just did it.
When it came time to pick a college … I wanted to stay close to home. I made one visit to Pepperdine’s campus, and it was pretty much done from there.