It’s the anniversary of Klay Thompson’s gruesome ACL tear in the 2019 NBA Finals. Dark thoughts do not pervade the Golden State Warriors guard’s mind whenever he recalls the fateful incident. In fact, he even revealed the interesting truth about why he stayed on the floor despite being in immense pain.
After he was fouled on a dunk attempt in the third quarter of Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, Thompson fell to the floor and immediately grimaced in pain while holding his knee. Instant replay showed that the guard landed awkwardly. Thompson, who had 28 points at the time, was carried off the floor with the help of his teammates. But not long after, he limped back to the court, straight to the free-throw line. His lofty NBA Finals goal was running through his mind.
His scoring goal was on top of his priority list. Behind it was the adrenaline that powers top athletes like Thompson to enter a superhuman-like will to win. In hindsight, Thompson reflects how ridiculous it was hopping back on the court with a busted ACL.
“I’d never had such a severe injury, so I didn’t think it was that serious,” Thompson said to NBC Sports. “I thought I might have sprained something in my knee. But you know, when you’re in the championship, and you’re playing in front of our fans, your adrenaline is so high that you kind of disregard anything that makes sense. And running around on a torn ACL doesn’t make very good sense.”
Is 30 still on his mind?
Thompson’s admission is an interesting one. We all hear star players shrug off an impressive scoring showcase in favor of a team victory. They are consistent in the post-game interviews when they point out that it’s not about their personal statistics. It is all about helping the team get the victory. Thompson’s revelation shows that even players of his caliber want to prop up their numbers.
But three years after the gruesome injury, Thompson seems to have matured in thought and deed. Getting a 30-piece will linger in his mind until it is time to play. Right after the ball goes up in the air, Thompson’s goal is to win by any means.
“Maybe for a second,” he says when asked if he’ll reflect on the anniversary. “But when I step on that court, I want to win by any means necessary. I don’t care how ugly or pretty it is. Let’s just win and protect our home court.”