Golden State Warriors players pulled up to the Cleveland Cavaliers game by rocking their favorite Klay Thompson jerseys. Thompson missed the entire 2019/2020 season after suffering a torn ACL injury during the 2019 NBA Finals.
Just before the start of the 2020/2021 season, Thompson suffered an Achilles injury. Thompson missed all of last season and the first three months of this season. On Sunday, Thompson made his return to the court for the first time in two and a half years.
Thompson played 20 minutes and scored 17 points in the Warriors' 96-82 win.
"I will never forget the reception that Warriors fans gave us, especially myself," Thompson said, per ESPN.
"Gosh it was fun and it was worth every single day of being away and in that squat rack or on that shuttle board and all the conditioning days. It was worth every single moment. "I am not going to say equivalent to winning a championship," Thompson added of what this night felt like.
"But man, it was pretty freaking close."
Thompson fired 18 shots in his return
"That is so Klay Thompson," Stephen Curry deadpanned. With just under three minutes left in the second quarter, Thompson dunked on Lauri Markannen and Dylan Windler.
"I'm going to remember that dunk," Golden State center Kevon Looney said. "The whole time here when Klay had perfect knees and Achilles, I don't remember him dunking like that." Thompson needed only 40 seconds to score his first basket.
"After that went in, I thought it might be one of those nights where I might be unconscious," Thompson said. Thompson was glad with the way he performed in his return. "To know that I can still do that [dunk] and being able to just get to my spots and rise up and shoot?" Thompson said.
"It's only up from here." Thompson was just happy he was back to the court. "I'm just so happy right now," Thompson said. "I did not shoot as well as I wanted to, but I am just so happy that I can even look at the stat sheet and see my name there and all the stats again."
"That was awesome. I love our Warriors fans. I know they were hurting for me the last two years. That was special. I knew it was going to be electric tonight. I tried to visualize this moment for years really. Gosh it was worth every second.
... I am very thankful for that ovation and the love that they showered me. I will never forget that."