Klay Thompson will not play for the Golden State Warriors this season, as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn ACL, but every once in a while he pops up and delights fans by saying or doing Klay things. The latest example came on Sunday, after Golden State's 115-101 loss against the New Orleans Pelicans, when he met with a group of season-ticket-holders.
According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke, the Warriors' sideline reporter, Thompson said that he misses playing with Stephen Curry, missing Draymond Green getting in people's heads and, as you might expect, misses making 3s in front of Warriors fans. But the real revelations were that he has taken up fishing in his free time and exclusively uses a flip phone. I am a bit suspicious of the latter claim, but I'll get to that in a second.
First, the fishing: For Thompson, this is about the experience, not about catching dinner, per Burke.
Klay says he’s taken up fishing as a hobby during his rehab. He explains he’s a more of catch-and-release guy, but he’ll filet the big ones.— Kerith Burke (@KerithBurke) February 24, 2020
This and the flip phone fit Thompson's vibe. He can routinely be found reading a physical newspaper in the locker room before games, which led Curry to describe him as having "old-man quirks" on a podcast with The Ringer's Bill Simmons. At Kevin Durant's introductory press conference after signing with Golden State in 2016, Durant joked that he didn't think Thompson had a phone until receiving a text from him. At DeMarcus Cousins' introductory press conference in 2018, Cousins called Thompson his favorite Warrior and perfectly captured his personality: "For him to be as dull as he is, there's never a dull moment."
Now, about that flip phone: Former teammate and current Golden State consultant Zaza Pachulia attended Thompson's jersey retirement ceremony at Washington State five weeks ago and filmed Thompson using one.
Thompson held up his flip phone as he talked about it on Monday. I wonder, though, if he has fully disconnected from smartphone life. It is possible that he made the switch since late December, when he FaceTimed with Curry in front of a group of kids at a holiday toy drive. It is also possible that someone other than Thompson runs his Twitter account, which has tweeted from an iPhone as recently as two weeks ago. Back in 2016, however, he told CNET that he has been an Apple devotee since he got an iPod, and he likes the convenience of apps like Postmates, Whatsapp and Yelp. (He also admitted the app he used the most was likely Pineapple Poker, even though he wasn't sure if it was "beneficial to my life.") Leaving all that behind would be difficult for most of us. Then again, Thompson is not most of us.
Part of the reason Thompson is beloved is that he always seems happy to do things his way. It would be extremely Klay of him to ditch his smartphone in the year 2020. It would also, however, be extremely Klay of him to say with a straight face that he had, even if it were not strictly true. I'm not sure it matters which is the case here.