Klay Alexander Thompson (born February 8, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson, he played college basketball for three seasons at Washington State University, where he was a two-time first-team all-conference selection in the Pac-10. Thompson was selected in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft by Golden State with the 11th overall pick. In 2014, he and teammate Stephen Curry set a then NBA record with 484 combined three-pointers in a season, as the pair were given the nickname the “Splash Brothers“. Thompson is a two-time NBA All-Star and a two-time All-NBA Third Team honoree. In 2015, he helped lead the Warriors to their first NBA championship since 1975.
Thompson was born in Los Angeles to Julie and Mychal Thompson. His mother was a volleyball player in college, and his dad was the first overall pick of the 1978 NBA draft. At age 2, Thompson’s family moved to Lake Oswego, Oregon, where he was childhood friends and Little League teammates with fellow future NBA starKevin Love. At age 14, Thompson moved with his family to Ladera Ranch, California, and graduated from Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita in 2008. In his junior season he was named to the All-Area second team and to the Orange County third team. As a senior Thompson averaged 21 points per game and led SMCHS to a 30–5 record and a Division III State Championship appearance. During the state championship, Thompson set a state finals record with seven 3-pointers in a game. He was named Division III State player of the year, League MVP, first-team Best in the West, and an EA Sports Second Team All American.
Considered as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, Thompson was listed as the No. 6 shooting guard and the No. 51 player in the nation in 2008.
As a freshman, Thompson started all 33 games at Washington State University. He was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team and Collegehoops.net All-Freshman Honorable Mention Team after leading his team in 3-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage, and averaging 12.5 points per game.
Thompson began his sophomore season by leading the Cougars to the Great Alaska Shootout Championship, of which he was named Most Outstanding Player after scoring a tournament single game record of 43 points in the championship game. This was also the third highest single game point total in WSU history. After becoming the third fastest Cougar to reach 1,000 points, Thompson was named to the All-Pac-10 First Team. He earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors twice during the season and was chosen as a midseason candidate for the John R. Wooden Award. Thompson finished the season averaging 19.6 points, which was second in the conference.
As a junior, Thompson again earned All-Pac-10 first team honors after leading the Pac-10 in scoring. He became just the third Cougar to win first-team all-district honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches twice in his career. In addition, he became the first Cougar to win Pac-10 Player of the Week three times when he won the award for the week of Nov. 22–28. He also won the award for the week of December 6–12. Soon after, Thompson was named one of the 30 midseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award. In the 2011 Pac-10 tournament, he set tournament records with 43 points and 8 three pointers. Thompson finished the season by setting WSU’s single season scoring record with 733 points. He is WSU’s 3rd all-time leading scorer.
Thompson declared for, and opted to remain in, the 2011 NBA draft after his junior season. He was selected 11th overall by the Golden State Warriors. This pick of a guard prompted speculation that the Warriors would trade starting guard Monta Ellis. Warriors general manager Larry Riley praised Thompson for his shooting ability and expressed confidence that Thompson would improve his defensive skills with new coach Mark Jackson.
The NBA did not select Thompson for the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend Rising Stars Challenge. However, in the four games after that decision, Thompson improved in all areas of basketball over his current season averages: points per game (12.5 over 7.6), shooting percentage (54.3% overall including 55.6% for three-pointers, up from 46.7 and 48.1), rebounds (2.8 from 1.6), assists (1.5 from 1.3), steals, and turnovers. The Warriors traded Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks on March 13, 2012. The following game, Thompson scored a season-high 26 points in a loss to the Boston Celtics. A week later, he exceeded his previous high with 27 points in a win over the New Orleans Hornets. As of mid-February 2012, Thompson played around 17 minutes per game, but he played an average 30 minutes per game during the next month. At the end of the season, Thompson was voted to the NBA NBA All-Rookie First Team.
On January 29, 2013, Thompson scored a season-high 32 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Warriors coach Mark Jackson said that Thompson and Stephen Curry formed the best shooting duo in NBA history. That season, the two combined made 483 three-pointers, the most ever by an NBA duo. The Warriors defeated the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs and would be matched up against the San Antonio Spurs. On May 8, 2013, Thompson recorded a playoff career-high 34 points against San Antonio, hitting 8 out of 9 three point attempts, along with a career-high 14 rebounds. Thompson and the Warriors would go on to lose to the Spurs in six games.
In the opening game for the Warriors, Thompson scored a season-high 38 points, including 5-of-7 three-pointers. He and Curry set an NBA record for 484 combined threes on the season, besting by one the record they set the previous year. Thompson averaged 18.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists on the year. Thompson and the Warriors entered the 2014 NBA playoffs as the sixth seed in the Western Conference and were matched up with the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round; they lost the series in seven games.
On October 31, 2014, Thompson signed a four-year contract extension with the Warriors. The next day, he scored a then career-high 41 points in the Warriors’ 127-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. On January 23, 2015, Thompson scored a career-high 52 points, with 11 three-pointers, in a 126–101 win over the Sacramento Kings. In the third quarter of that game, he scored an NBA-record 37 points for a single quarter, going 13-for-13 from the field, including nine three-pointers (also a league record for a single quarter). The 13 field goals tied David Thompson‘s (no relation) record for a quarter. On January 29, 2015, Thompson was named a reserve for the 2015 Western Conference All-Star team for the first time in his career.
On March 8, 2015, Thompson hit 3 three-pointers against the Los Angeles Clippers to pass head coach Steve Kerr (726) on the NBA’s all-time list. On March 17, he was ruled out for 7–10 days with a sprained ankle. That season, Stephen Curry broke his own record for three-pointers (286), and Thompson again finished second in the league (239) as the two combined to make 525 threes, surpassing their previous record by 41. On June 7, in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Thompson scored a playoff career-high 34 points in a losing effort to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors went on to defeat the Cavaliers in six games to win the NBA championship and end the franchise’s 40-year championship drought.
In the Warriors’ next game, on December 16, Thompson scored 27 of his then season-high 43 points in the third quarter of their 128–103 win over the Phoenix Suns. On January 8, he recorded his third consecutive game with 30 or more points, finishing with 36 points in a 128–108 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. On January 27, he scored a season-high 45 points on 14-of-20 shooting in a 127–107 win over the Dallas Mavericks. The following night, he was named a Western Conference All-Star reserve for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, earning his second straight All-Star nod. On February 13, he competed in the All-Star Weekend’s Three-Point Contest and won the event after defeating Stephen Curry and Devin Bookerin the final round. On March 25, he scored 40 points against the Dallas Mavericks. Two days later, he had another 40-point game against the Philadelphia 76ers, scoring 40 points in consecutive games for the first time in his career. On April 7, Thompson scored 14 points against the San Antonio Spurs, helping the Warriors become the second team in NBA history to win 70 games in a season.Thompson began the season averaging 17.2 points per game over his first 21 games, but failed to record a 30-point game over that stretch. That streak ended on December 8, as he scored a then season-high 39 points on 13-of-21 shooting in a 131–123 win over the Indiana Pacers, helping the Warriors extend their unbeaten record to start the season to 23–0. The Warriors’ NBA-record start ended after 24 wins when they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 108–95 on December 12.
As the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the Warriors faced the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. In Game 5 of the series, Thompson became the first player in NBA history to make at least seven three-pointers in consecutive playoff games, as he helped the Warriors advance through to the second round with a 4–1 victory, stepping up with Stephen Curry out injured. The Warriors went on to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 4–1 in the second round, moving on to the Western Conference Finals where they faced the Oklahoma City Thunder. After going down 3 games to 1 following a Game 4 loss, Thompson helped the Warriors rally in Games 5 and 6 to even the series at 3–3. In Game 6, Thompson made a playoff-record 11 three-pointers and scored 41 points, as the Warriors forced a Game 7 with a 108–101 victory. With a Game 7 victory, the Warriors became the 10th team to rally from a 3–1 deficit and win a postseason series. The Warriors went on to lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals in seven games, despite being up 3–1 in the series.
Thompson was a member of the United States national team that won the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics. He also won gold as a member of the Under-19 national team at the 2009 FIBA Under-19 World Championship.
Thompson, born in Los Angeles, is the son of Mychal Thompson, born in Nassau, Bahamas and who came to the United States in his younger years. Mychal Thompson was a basketball player and first overall pick of the 1978 NBA draft. He played for Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. Klay’s mother is Julie Leslie a college volleyball player with the University of Portland and University of San Francisco.
His older brother, Mychel, played basketball for Pepperdine University and has played in the NBA Development League, while his younger brother, Trayce, is a Major League Baseball player with the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After winning the NBA championship in 2015, Thompson and his father became the fourth father-son duo to each win an NBA title as players, joining Matt Guokas, Sr. and Jr.; Rick and Brent Barry; and Bill and Luke Walton.