Clay Thompson enjoys fourth NBA title after career-threatening injury

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry # 30 and Clay Thompson # 11

Stephen Curry # 30 and Clay Thompson # 11 of the Golden State Warriors are celebrating after beating the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Game Six of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on June 16, 2022. Elsa / Getty Images / AFP

Clay Thompson did not hold on to the celebration of her fourth NBA title, which came in the wake of two devastating injuries that showed the Golden State star just how fragile and could be an NBA career.

“Oh, man, I was feeling absolutely incredible,” said Thompson, who was awarded the trophy with teammate Stephen Curry in the wake of their game-winning six against the Celtics in Boston.

“I was feeling so high in life that I didn’t want to leave the stage, and I know how hard it is, and coming here for the fourth time, grateful to my teammates.”

Thompson’s journey after running their NBA titles in 2015, 2017 and 2018 embodied the unlikely return of the Warriors Summit.

He returned from a 31-month injury absence in January and his last final run came three years after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in six games in the 2019 NBA Finals.

On his way back from that injury, more than 17 months later, he tore his right Achilles tendon.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said: “The pain Clay has felt for the last three years … people may have guessed it, but we’ve seen it up close.”

“And, you know, between the second year long injury and losing what he likes to do in life, you know, playing the game, it was a rough path for him.”

Though he did not appear in court until about halfway through the season, Thompson said he knew the Warriors could be in contention for the title again.

“I saw it early in the season,” he said. “People called me crazy. I said championship or bust, because I saw how we got out of the gate, 18-2. And just playing the Warriors brand basketball game that made us so successful, and then knew I was going to get into it, I I knew we had a chance to do something special and we were here. “

Thompson said his 2019 injury was “easy to accept because I’ve never been hurt before and that five-year run has taken a lot away from us.”

“But the second time it happened, what happened, man. Just to be with, just to raise a calf after raising a calf, after a treadmill under water, so many days, not a single ball touched.

“Then going through ups and downs this season, even in these play-offs, I’m at a loss for the occasional sound.

“Because I knew it was possible but to be here in real time, man, I didn’t want to leave. I want to enjoy every second of it. I know how temporary it can be. “

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