How Klay Thompson Became One Of The Biggest Sore Losers (And Winners) In The NBA

Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson

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The NBA has been home to countless players who can credit a good chunk of their success to the ruthlessly competitive nature that helped them succeed at basketball’s highest level.

That passion served as the foundation for Kobe Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality,” and there are a ton of anecdotes concerning the “Take No Prisoners (Even If They’re Your Teammates)” philosophy that Michael Jordan subscribed to over the course of his legendary career.

Those guys earned the right to talk a big game because they could easily back it up with their play on the hardwood, and it would be a bit foolish to suggest Klay Thompson isn’t allowed to flex a bit based on what he’s managed to achieve since he was selected by the Warriors with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Since then, the Golden State star has been named to the All-Star Team on five separate occasions and helped the franchise secure the four NBA titles they’ve won during his tenure (although he’s gotten plenty of help from a guy by the name of “Steph Curry”).

Thompson has generally come off as a pretty personable dude. However, in recent years, it’s become increasingly hard to ignore one of his biggest shortcomings thanks to his growing reputation as one of the biggest sore losers (and sore winners) in the NBA.

That issue most recently reared its ugly head thanks to what transpired when the Warriors faced off against the Grizzlies.

Golden State didn’t have much to brag about in the closing minute of a blowout loss to Memphis, but Thompson decided there was no better time to remind his opponents (and the world) that he’s won four rings with the team.

The Washington State product made a bad look even worse when he stoked his ongoing feud with Dillon Brooks (who has emerged as one of the NBA’s most entertaining villains) after the contest by stating, “When he retires, I don’t think anyone will ever talk about Dillon Brooks ever again.”

That was the textbook definition of “a bad look,” but it’s not exactly a huge shock when you consider Thompson has a long history of taking things a bit too personally.

How Klay Thompson transformed into one of the most insufferable players in the NBA

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Before we dive into things, I want to stress I’m not trying to minimize what Thompson has achieved or suggest he isn’t somewhat justified in bragging about his fairly impressive résumé.

With that said, there are plenty of other players on a similar tier who’ve been able to avoid succumbing to the issues he’s routinely fallen victim to.

You could argue one of Thompson’s biggest issues is his willingness to dish out criticism without being able to take it with grace.

For example, he had no problem calling out LeBron James for taking exception to his trash-talking in the 2016 NBA Finals, but he caught plenty of heat for failing to shake hands with the Cavaliers after Cleveland climbed out of a 3-1 hole to win the series in seven games (he later claimed he didn’t want to interrupt their postgame celebration).

That’s not the only time Thompson has had trouble giving opponents the props they deserve in the wake of a loss; in 2016, he tried to downplay the 50 points Damiem Lillard put up when Golden State played Portland by describing it as a “fluke.”

The aforementioned ring-counting “incident” also isn’t the first time Thompson has turned to the past in an attempt to distract from the present, as he pulled the same move during an altercation with Devin Booker that led to the first ejection of his career earlier this season.

You could also make the case that Thompson puts a bit too much stake in individual accomplishments.

It’s easy to understand why he was annoyed to learn Kemba Walker earned All-NBA honors over him in 2019 when you take the contract implications into consideration, but he was probably a bit too vocal about the supposed “snub” that saw him omitted from the NBA 75 Team roster that was unveiled in 2021.

Thompson is still a talented player despite the injuries that have caused some serious setbacks in recent years, but it also seems like his best days might be behind him.

It would be foolish to write him off entirely, but if he continues to dredge up what he accomplished in his prime while falling short in his quest for another one of the rings he’s so fond of bragging about, it’s going to be increasingly hard to ignore his increasingly insufferable pattern of behavior.