Klay Thompson takes on the doubters in his NBA return

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In an exclusive interview with SI's Howard Beck, Warriors guard Klay Thompson went after his critics, in part for his snub from the NBA's recent 75th Anniversary Team.

Speaking to Beck a few months before his return to the lineup after an almost two-and-a-half year layoff due to injuries, Thompson said he was frustrated with the doubters:

"Everyone always talks about winning. Isn’t winning supposed to matter? We were the first team in 50 years to make five straight Finals. We won three championships. How many of these guys have done what I’ve done? Isn’t defense supposed to matter? How many of these guys play D? I take on the best perimeter players every night."

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Thompson missed 941 days and hadn’t played since tearing the ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against Toronto. While rehabbing from surgery for that injury, he tore his right Achilles tendon scrimmaging on his own in November 2020.

The five-time All-Star finally made his much-anticipated return this past Sunday night, and reached two career milestones—12,000 points and 1,800 3-pointers.

At one point, Thompson brought the crowd to its feet when he drove around a defender near the 3-point line and scored on a jarring one-handed dunk. Thompson snarled and pounded his chest as he walked back toward midcourt. Moments later, he made his first 3-pointer to go over 12,000 points.

You can read Beck's full story on Thompson here

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.