By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
As the pacesetter, winning two NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, Mychal ‘Sweet Bells’ Thompson said he knew it would have only been a matter of time before his son, Klay Thompson, would be a champion as well on the biggest stage in the game today.
On Tuesday night, Thompson, known as one of the ‘Splash Brothers,’ helped the Golden State Warriors clinch the NBA crown with a 4-2 decision over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thompson fouled out in the fourth quarter after scoring just five points, but the Warriors went on to stun the Cavaliers 105-97 in Cleveland.
The victory enabled Mychal and Klay Thompson to go down in history as only the fourth father-son combination to win an NBA title. They also added some history after Mychel Thompson helped the Golden State’s affiliate Santa Cruz Warriors win the NBA D-League title to become the first brothers to achieve such a feat in the same season.
NBA video from December 2014
For their proud father Mychal, he said it was one of the happiest moments that the Thompson family got to celebrate together.
“I was very happy, very proud for the Warriors,” said the elder Thompson in an interview with The Tribune. “I expected this from his team and I was very happy that he was able to continue the winning tradition for the Bahamas in winning NBA championship, joining myself and Rick Fox.”
Thompson, 60, said there was no greater feeling for him to be in the Quicken Loans Arena as he watched his 25-year-old son Klay help the Warriors cart off their first championship in 40 years. It was a long process that was in the making for a long time.
“As soon as he got to college and once he got drafted to the Warriors and I watched their commitment to winning, I knew this was a day that will come eventually,” said Thompson, now a Lakers radio colour commentator after he retired in 1991 with his consecutive NBA titles in 1987 and 1988.
“I’m just happy that it happened now as opposed to later down the road. Maybe, he will eventually join me in winning his second NBA title in the future.”
A modest Thompson, the number one pick by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1978 NBA draft, said he encouraged his son Klay, who played for Washington State University before he was selected with the 11th pick in the 2011 NBA draft by Golden State, said he told his son to be “thankful” because “God has blessed him to be on the right team at the right time.
“I also told him to continue to work hard and to realise that this is just the beginning. All he has to do is stay humble.”
While there will be a major celebration for the Warriors today in Golden State, Thompson and his team-mates, including regular season MVP and the other half of the ‘Splash Brothers’ tandem Stephen Curry, championship MVP Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green, will be coming to the Bahamas on July 20 where they will continue the festivities.
During their stay, the Warriors will attend the annual Jeff Rodgers Summer Basketball Camp at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
“All of the guys are looking forward to coming to the Bahamas,” said Thompson, who will be up for special recognition when the Bahamas Government will name the road leading up to the KGLI and the new Thomas A Robinson National Stadium in his honour.
Byron Scott, head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, along with point guard Jordan Clarkson, are also expected to be in town.
“Everybody wants to come to the Bahamas,” Thompson said. “They heard about the camp, but when they were told about coming to the Bahamas to celebrate, that was an easy sell. The NBA players all want to come to the Bahamas.”
As a family, Thompson said they stayed in Cleveland overnight on Tuesday and had a long dinner.
It was a double dose of celebrations for the Thompson family as they also celebrated Mychel Thompson’s triumph with the Santa Cruz Warriors in the NBA D-League with their 109-96 win over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on April 27. The 27-year-old, who starred for Pepperdine University, played in five games for the Cavaliers in the NBA in 2011.
“I was just as proud of Mychel as I was of Klay. The D-League is the second best league in the world so it was an honour for him to be the champion too,” Thompson said. “It just makes you feel so proud as a father to see your sons follow in your footsteps as a champion at these two major leagues.”
Only the combos of Matt Goukas Sr and Jr, Rick and Brent Barry and Bill and Luke Walton have won the NBA title as a father-son tandem before Mychal and Klay Thompson joined the prestigious list. However, Mychel Thompson joins them in becoming the first father-sons trio to win in both the NBA and D-League.
“I’m thankful for my two NBA titles and the one that Mychel won in the D-League, but it means a lot more for Klay,” Mychal Thompson said. “It’s always good when your kids can achieve much more than you have done, so I’m very happy to be their father and I was even more proud on Tuesday night because you can’t get no better than winning the NBA title.”