Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson’s No. 1 was retired by Washington State University men’s basketball program during a ceremony in Pullman, Wash., on Jan. 18.
In just three seasons at Washington State, Thompson became WSU’s third all-time leading scorer (1,756 points), averaging 17.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.33 steals in 98 games, while connecting on a school-record 242 three-pointers. He was the 11th overall pick by the Golden State Warriors in the 2011 NBA Draft, becoming just the second Cougar to be chosen in the first round.
Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry was in attendance as his Golden State Warriors teammate and fellow “Splash Brother” had his No. 1 jersey hung for perpetuity in the rafters of an unusually raucous Beasley Coliseum.
Thompson was emotional during the halftime ceremony and active on the sidelines throughout the game, fist-pumping and firing up the 10,380 fans. Video tributes to Thompson by his former USA basketball coach, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, plus former Washington State and current Virginia coach Tony Bennett and Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr were shown.
“Surpassed all my expectations,” Thompson said. “Just to see the city and the building. There is nothing like Coug love, I’ve come to realize. I meant that when I said I am traveling around the country and I hear ‘Go Cougs’ all the time. It’s a special kinship when someone says that to you. And I feel the energy tonight. I want to go out there and play so badly. But its OK to be a spectator. These young boys are really doing it.”
“I’m so grateful for where basketball has taken me -- around the world,— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 19, 2020
…but there’s nowhere like Pullman, there’s nowhere like The Palouse.”
Hear @klaythompson's full speech from his @WSUCougarMBB jersey retirement ceremony. pic.twitter.com/pHqU0qfz4I
As a Cougar, Thompson earned Pac-12 Conference honors all three seasons at WSU, all-freshman accolades as a rookie and First-Team All-Pac-10 as both a sophomore and junior. As a junior, Thompson led the Pac-10 and ranked 11th in the nation in scoring with a 21.6 points per game average, while also leading the conference in three-pointers made (98) and breaking four WSU single-season records, including points (733), and three-point field goals made.
In three seasons as a starter at Washington State, Thompson played 98 games, averaging 17.9 points per contest. By the time he left after his junior season, he had scored 1,756 points (third in school history) and made what then was a school-record 242 3-pointers. He was the 11th overall pick by the Warriors in the 2011 NBA Draft.
“Each year I was in Pullman I had to grow,” Thompson said. “In my freshman year, I had so many great leaders on our team as far as veterans, you know, Daven (Harmeling), Taylor Rochestie was such a great team player, such a great point guard. When they left, I had to kind of step into that spotlight, that main go-to guy role. I took my lumps and had my slumps but those made me so much stronger.”
“A special basketball player but an even more special person.”— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 17, 2020
Coach Kerr, Bob Myers, Zaza Pachulia, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry with a special message for @KlayThompson ahead of his @WSUCougarMBB jersey retirement tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/QCGexd0TGH
The No. 1 jersey worn by Thompson during his three seasons in Pullman will join the No. 55 worn by Steve Puidokas as the only two retired jerseys in the WSU men’s basketball program. Thompson also becomes just the seventh person at WSU to have his number retired in any sport, joining football’s Mel Hein and Jack Thompson, and baseball’s Buck Bailey, Bobo Brayton and John Olerud.
As a member of the Golden State Warriors, Thompson has helped lead team to three NBA titles and five-straight appearances in the NBA Finals (2015-19). Thompson owns career averages of 19.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 33.1 minutes per game over eight seasons, all with Golden State. His 1,798 three-point field goals made are 18th all-time in NBA history and he owns the NBA single-game record with 14 three-pointers made established in 2018.
He has been selected an NBA All-Star five times and twice named to the All-NBA Third-Team. In 2018-19 he was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Second-Team and won the NBA Three-Point Contest as part of the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend. In addition, he was named to the All-Rookie First Team in 2012.
Thompson has won gold medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the 2014 World Cup and 2009 FIBA Under-19 World Championship while representing USA Basketball.
Earlier this season, Thompson’s teammate Draymond Green had his No. 23 jersey retired by the Michigan State men’s basketball program during a ceremony in East Lansing, Mich. on December 3, 2019.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.