Top 10 Moments From Klay Day
Chronicling The Unforgettable Return of Klay Thompson, Coined As ‘Klay Day’
After 941 days, Warriors guard Klay Thompson made his 2021-22 NBA season debut at Chase Center on Jan. 9. The five-time All-Star’s return absolutely electrified Warriors Ground and united players and fans from across the NBA to rejoice in the spectacular moment.
“I’m very thankful for that ovation and the love they showered me with tonight. I will never forget that,“ Thompson shared following his first NBA matchup since Game 6 of the 2019 Finals.
“The fans are the best. The best in the league. The ovation and the pregame and to come out and make my first shot. The fans are everything. They inspired for me the last two years and I thought about them every day…I’m just so happy to be back doing what I love.”
Reflect on the three-time champion’s return to NBA action with 10 of the most notable moments that unfolded on ‘Klay Day’ on Warriors Ground.
Warm Welcome On Klay Day
The excitement of Klay Day was felt from the start, with current and former NBA players and other athletes and entertainers sharing in the anticipation of Thompson’s return. The basketball world welcomed the guard back, sharing sentiments of elation across social media and expressing how much “the game missed Klay.”
Dubs Rep No. 11 Jerseys Upon Arrival
Thompson’s teammates shared in the excitement of the three-time NBA champion’s Chase Center debut, rocking various Thompson jerseys from different moments in his career.
“Everybody rocking the KT11 jerseys from all different times throughout his career was pretty cool, (an) acknowledgement of all he's been through,” said fellow Splash Brother Stephen Curry, who also changed his Twitter avatar to an image of Thompson.
Thompson Introduced Last
After a special-edition intro video focused on Thompson, it was time for hype man Franco Finn to announce the team’s starting lineup. Although Stephen Curry is generally the final player announced, the two-time NBA MVP proudly let his Splash Brother have his moment. The music stopped, and for a moment the only sounds at Chase Center were the deafening cheers and applause behind Finn introducing the guard out of Washington State.
“It was special, just being set up for the love that I know he's been waiting for, just that moment, hear the crowd, know that he's gone through so many highs and lows over the last two years that was the moment that he could celebrate that journey and just go hoop,” Curry shared on the significant moment. “It delivered, that moment delivered for sure. I got goosebumps on the outside of the court just watching the smiles and all that. He's earned, deserved, all that welcome back to the court moment and that was special.”
No Time To Waste
The five-time All-Star wasted no time making his first NBA bucket in 941 days. On the Dubs’ opening possession, Thompson penetrated the paint and scored the team’s first points of the night. “I was so excited that I saw a lane to the basket so I just took the opportunity. It was a really tough floater,” Thompson said. Though after the game, Head Coach Steve Kerr admitted he had other plans, stating, “I drew the first play up, not for him, but for him to catch it and move it on, I should have known better. He just caught it and drove and scored. It was a phenomenal moment.”
Thompson Throws Down
Thompson’s first bucket prompted a strong response from Dub Nation, but that was nothing compared to the reaction that followed one of the Dubs’ signature dunks of the seasons in the second quarter. After crossing over on a reaching defender, Thompson attacked the basket and hammered home a slam with 2:56 remaining in the first half to extend the Warriors lead. The dynamic dunk prompted a signature snarl, with Thompson sharing, “It felt so good to throw that down. I did not expect that. I’m very pleased with my efforts tonight.”
Splash Brother Back At It
It was a sight for sore eyes as Thompson made his way to the perimeter with 1:18 remaining in the first half and sank his first NBA 3-pointer in over two years. The sharpshooter continued to drain shots in the second half, opening the third quarter by scoring seven of the Warriors’ first nine points. “That shot felt really big and it's just great to see him and his movement and his flow.” Kerr shared.
Snarl Klay Emerges
Along with the excitement of his 2021-22 season debut, Thompson reached two milestones in Sunday’s game, scoring his 12,000th career point and sinking his 1,800th career 3-pointer.
Special Delivery From Another Curry
In the team locker room, Thompson received a special postgame delivery as Stephen Curry’s son Canon handed the five-time All-Star the game ball following his first NBA matchup since Game 6 of the 2019 Finals. “It was a nice, nice moment,” Kerr shared on the wholesome occasion. “Everybody was just obviously thrilled for Klay and thrilled to have him back.”
Warriors React To Thompson‘s Return Performance
“It was vicious, it was amazing to watch. Obviously the building was crazy all the way from start to finish. It was a great night,” Curry expressed after Thompson’s first NBA game in over two years. “He also made a bunch of tough shots and some big ones too,” Head Coach Steve Kerr added.
Thompson’s “Very Special Moment”
“That was a very special moment. I’ll never forget. I’ll never forget this night, I’ll never forget the reception the Warrior fans gave us, especially myself,” the three-time NBA champion humbly shared following Sunday’s game. “It was worth every single day of being away…all the conditioning days. It was worth every single moment. I was so grateful to just compete again. It’s been a long road, but I’m also just proud of myself for persevering.”
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