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The Word On ... Tristan Thompson


Center of Attention

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Cleveland fell in love with Tristan Thompson almost from the moment he was drafted No. 4 overall back in 2011. He epitomizes everything that the city embraces – hard work, persistence, loyalty and toughness. He’s also one of the best guys who’s ever donned the Wine and Gold.

The beauty of Tristan Thompson is consistency. You can count on him: to suit up, to crash the boards, to lead the squad by example. But you can also count on the ninth-year big man to produce an interesting, poignant or hilarious quote – often with a curse word or two interspersed.

So as Tristan’s Week here on Cavs.com rolls on, here’s the word on – and from – the man himself …


Coach's Dream

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Coach J.B. Bickerstaff on the overall zen of Tristan Thompson …

”You're talking about a guy who knows what it takes, and the reason why he's been in the league as long as he has is because he knows exactly who he is and how he impacts winning.

”It's one thing to have the ability, it's another thing to understand and accept it -- because what he does is hard, you know, that job, the spirit he plays with, the fight that he has to have every single night is extremely difficult.

”But, he's there for his teammates and whatever it takes to win, he's willing to do so.

”You have to appreciate that, and you know he’s figured it out and a guy who uplifts people with his energy.”


Iron Man

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Tristan Thompson on climbing up through the all-time franchise record book, especially the 447-game streak, tops in team history …

”I like the all-time stuff like this. The numbers like field goal percentage and stuff like that, it's cool. But by just being out there, playing that many games to get those numbers, it just shows your durability. Those numbers, that's all a testament to durability.

”Personally, I'd love to keep that one; hopefully take that one to the grave with me.

”The Young Bull is getting there, but he’s not that close. He's got a lot of years to go. I know he did all 82 (his rookie year). So, I might need him to take a day off. Every couple years, we need to give that kid a day off!”


Blue Collar Job

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Tristan Thompson on the life of a true big man in the NBA …

”I think that’s my job to be a little nasty – to bring that energy, protect the paint and really just protect our guys.

”That’s the role of a big man. It’s not cute; it’s not pretty being a big. You have to come in and do the little things, do the dirty work.”


Southpaw Switch

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Tristan Thompson on why it might have taken him until his third year in the NBA to switch from shooting left-handed to shooting right-handed …

“In Canada, when I started playing basketball at the age of 12, (the sport) wasn’t that big.

”We had coaches, but in terms of the knowledge they have compared to coaches down here, it’s a big difference. Maybe at that age, if I was shooting left-handed and they had said: ‘Man, that thing looks ugly! Switch it up and shoot with the right!’ I might have been right-handed a little sooner.”


Right On

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Who Tristan Thompson credits for helping him make the switch …

”I owe that one to Jeremy Pargo.

”It was at a shootaround in Phoenix. We were messing around, shooting corner threes and he said: 'Try with your right hand.'

”The rest is history.”


Love Hurts

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Tristan Thompson when asked – roughly eight months before the two became teammates – who he considers his toughest assignment in the NBA …

”I’d have to say Kevin Love. He’s the hardest guy at my position to guard because he can do it all – shoot 3’s, post-up, rebound, runs in transition to the three-point line.

”He’s a tough matchup and every game you have to come out ready to play against that guy.


Bigger Than Basketball

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Tristan Thompson on his tireless work with Toronto Epilepsy, the condition – which his younger brother, Amari, struggles with – and his responsibility to lend a hand …

”The bigger you become as a player and the more success you have as a player, the spotlight definitely becomes brighter. But with that opportunity – especially for me – you have to do right. And with Toronto Epilepsy, I want to be able to spread the word and just educate people.

”Because people don’t really know what it is and when someone doesn’t know about something, they tend to have a negative perception about it. And I’m just trying to cut that barrier down and really just educate those to understand – it’s not contagious, it’s not something to run away from.

”It’s a neurological condition that causes seizures. But there’s a lot of ways to get through it and go on to have great life.”


Mother Knows Best

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Tristan Thompson on whether or not he gets basketball advice from his mom …

”No, she just tells me to play hard.

”Growing up as a kid playing basketball, I’d always tell my mom: ‘Just be supportive and just be there for me mentally. I don’t need you to coach me; I already get coached enough.’ I don’t want to come home to a house where I’m talking about basketball all day. I’m around it all day – let’s talk about something else.”


Triple Trouble

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Coach J.B. Bickerstaff following a February win over Atlanta in which Tristan went 3-for-3 from three-point range …

“When we went to Tristan, he gave us such a good lift, such meaningful minutes when he comes off the bench. He was a former starter that comes in and gave us some girth as well again.

”We never expected the three threes but a stretch five is good to have.

”We’ll wait on that one, but I am sure we will have to let him shoot it again after that performance.”


Homebody

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Tristan Thompson from California following the abrupt stoppage of the regular season in March …

”The way I’ve approached it is just like a regular offseason. Obviously, the last couple of years we haven't been the playoffs and our offseason has been longer, so that's kind of my approach. I don't really do much anyways, so I just been working out chilling with the family.

”It's been a blessing in disguise, because you know my kids live on the West Coast, so for me to spend that time with them is the most important thing during this time – because long distance is sometimes hard.

”So, I just look at the positives.”


Raised by Raptors

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Tristan Thompson on his days as a young hoops fan in Toronto …

“I fell in love with basketball just watching the Toronto Raptors play. Watching Marcus Camby, Damon Stoudamire.

”It was my uncle – my mom’s brother – and my aunt who turned me on to hoops. He was more of into basketball and he’d take me to Raptors games. And then my dad started taking me with him. And I started falling in love with the game.

”We’d go to the Sprite Zone at the Air Canada Centre. It was at the top, all the way in the nose-bleed seats – $2 a ticket.

”That was a treat. And that’s how it started.”


Ready to Rumble

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Tristan Thompson before Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals against Golden State …

”We feel good. We've worked hard to get ourselves back to this situation.

”It's one game left. One game of basketball.

”The crowd is going to be crazy and have a lot of energy. They're going to play pissed off. We know that. So we've got to be ready to play.”


Top of the World

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Tristan Thompson after Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals against Golden State …

”I couldn't imagine this at all. Just reading the letter that LeBron wrote and just what he brought back to the city and just helped us as young guys, not being on a team that was a Playoff team elevated my game so much and other guys'.

”I could never imagine it was going to be this sweet. But it's a great feeling.

”It's a great feeling.”


Royal Treatment

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LeBron James when asked during the 2015 NBA Finals about Thompson’s value to the franchise …

”Tristan should probably be a Cavalier for his whole career. There's no reason why he shouldn't. This guy is 24 years old. He's played in 340 plus straight games, and he's gotten better every single season.

”It's almost like what more can you ask out of a guy – even though we ask for more out of him.

”He's a young guy, but he's a professional that loves to come to work every day. He plays his heart out every single night, and he has zero sense of entitlement in this league. All he cares about is coming into work.

”Whatever is given to him, he relishes the opportunity, and he's a great teammate. He'll be here for a long time.”


Lucky 13

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Tristan Thompson on possibly having his jersey retired by the Cavaliers one day …

”Coming into the league, you always want to be able to leave your imprint wherever you play. So, for me, being able to be part of Cavaliers history and probably go down as one of the great Cavaliers to ever play. Yeah, it's huge. My goal is to get my jersey retired someday. That would be a really big honor.

”You become immortalized. You're here forever -- when you come back, when your kids come back. It's something to tell your kids to be proud of.

”Getting traded or signing somewhere else is just part of the business of basketball and sometimes it’s out of your control. But for me be able to be with the team for, you know, this is my ninth season, being here for that long, it's really meaningful.

”Not a lot of guys around the league can't say that.”


One for All

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Tristan Thompson on Tristan Thompson …

“I’m a happy guy – I just love to play the game.

”Why not have a smile on your face? You get paid to play basketball.

”What more could you ask for?!”

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