SAN FRANCISCO – A moment could require a long recording routine. Or maybe intense training. Or maybe an in-depth film session.
After all, the NBA playoffs require teams to seek any advantage in a competitive playoff series. After missing the last 2½ of the season due to injuries to his left ACL (2019-20) and right Achilles tendon (2020-21), Golden State Warriors keeper Klay Thompson has certainly followed that routine.
But as the Warriors enter their fifth game semi-final series of the conference against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday (10 ET, TNT), Thompson also tried to strike a healthy work-life balance to help maintain perspective during the Warriors postseason.
“Balance is key, even during this time with the emotional slide of the playoffs,” Thompson told NBA.com. “Whether it’s reading or walking a dog or riding a boat or a bicycle. I try to think of simple things that make me happy. ”
Thompson often tried to enjoy these simple things during his nine-year NBA career. Warriors coach Steve Kerr also encouraged his players to “fill their glass,” a philosophy Spurs coach Gregg Popovich first preached to help players avoid burnout during a long NBA season of 82 games in the regular season and playoffs.
When you talk about work-life balance, he missed work. ”
– Steve Kerr about Klay Thompson
In his first postseason since 2019, Thompson peaked with his shooting performance in the first round against Denver (49.6% in total) and low results against Memphis (36.3% in total). To keep a balance between good and bad games, Thompson was looking for other exits to keep him occupied.
“Boating, fishing and staying in the ocean are a great cure for those things,” Thompson said. “There is more to life than the internet and NBA Twitter. You realize you can’t take work home with you all the time. ”
Thompson consumed reading material far more enjoyable than just his press clips and his playbook. He delved into books on basketball, David Halberstam’s “The Breaks of the Game” was rated the best book in the NBA. He just finished “Young, Black, Rich and Famous” by Todd Boyd, who describes how the NBA and hip-hop have become more accepted by mainstream audiences. He is currently reading Sam Smith’s book “Hard Work,” which details the history between the NBA and players ’union negotiations over labor issues.
Thompson also enjoyed books on nature. He enjoyed Carlos Eyles’ The Last Bluewater Hunters and Peter Freuchen’s The Book of the Seven Seas.
After these reading sessions, Thompson then becomes inspired to enjoy the water.
He will often ride his Axopar 37 Cabin boat around the bay on non-working days, as well as use it to get to and from training and matches so he can enjoy the breeze outdoors instead of feeling frustrated by congested road traffic. Thompson described the routine as a “calming, surreal feeling” that lifts his spirits after bad performances and keeps him on the ground after impressive outings. Before and after his rides, Thompson will also participate in a five to 10 minute meditation session.
“It gives me a sense of liberation and freedom while I’m out in that ocean, I feel the ocean air and I see the city out of the water,” Thompson said. “It added a whole new element to my life.”
During these boat rides, Thompson will often look for places to swim to keep his fitness sharp. Although Thompson acknowledged that water is “occasionally cold,” he found it important to endure the elements in order to build mental strength.
“It’s so rejuvenating to be in the Pacific and feel that salt water,” Thompson said. “It’s a soul cleanser for me.”
So is hanging out with Rocco, his 10-year-old bulldog. During rehab and conditioning, Thompson played tug of war with Rocco to help strengthen his arms. Rocca considers it a “great companion” because it makes him more compelled to visit local parks and hiking trails.
“It takes me out and brings me responsibility in my life,” Thompson said of Rocco. “He considers me responsible. It’s nice to have a pet and it’s nice to take care of someone. ”
Admittedly, Thompson still devotes a lot of time to his actual work. He stressed the importance of tackling “all the little things,” including quality diet and sleep habits. He watches all the NBA playoff games and studies film and for fun. He continued to train shooting and weightlifting on training days.
“He loves the game so much that the last few years have been very, very difficult for him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Now it’s back, I think he feels his life is more balanced. When you talk about work-life balance, he missed work. He had a life, but he was injured and couldn’t do what he loved, at work. I think he has restored that balance, but I think it’s because he really likes to play. “
Because of that reality, the Warriors noticed that Thompson occasionally put too much pressure or rushed in hopes of shaking off the fall. When that happened, the Warriors praised Thompson for changing his shot selection and affecting the game with a defensive crowd.
Thompson can thank his off-field habits for helping him maintain that mindset.
“It’s important to do other things to keep your mind busy and growing,” Thompson said. “The days are becoming so routine and so methodical. I learned how important it is to expand my mind. ”
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