Every once in a long while, there comes along an athlete who transcends the community to which they call home. These hometown heroes are the ones who make it through the trials and tribulations of the road to success in their sport, and are forever looked upon as role models.
In Southern California, the weather is perfect and there are a million things that can consume your time. You can take a trip to the beach, go for a hike, or enjoy all other amenities that are included within the sunshine state. However for one individual in particular, life in Southern California always centered around the sport of basketball. For Orange County native Klay Thompson, basketball runs in the family.
Growing up, Thompson followed in his father’s footsteps, applying himself to be the best basketball player he could be. Mychal Thompson, Klay’s Father, played the power forward spot for the “Showtime” Lakers in the late 1980s. Mychal won two championships, one in 1987 and the other in 1988. For Klay, the passion to be great was instilled in him by his father and he was able to gain insights of what it would take to become a college, and possibly professional basketball player.
Klay attended Santa Margarita High School where he developed a killer jump shot and relentless work ethic. In his senior 2008 season, Klay averaged 21 points per game and led Santa Margarita to a Division 3 State Championship appearance.
The State Championship Game was one of the best of Klay’s young career as he dropped seven three-pointers, a state finals record. All of the hours he spent daily in the gym, perfecting his jump shot, culminated when he was awarded as the Division 3 State Player of The Year. The impressive career of Klay was just beginning, as he was in the process of making his father and the city of Rancho Santa Margarita very proud.
The next step in the young, exciting career of Klay was for him to make a decision about where he would attend college. Klay decided to take his talents from the sunshine and beaches of California to continue his basketball career at Washington State University.
As a freshman at Washington State, Klay made the Pac-10 All Freshman Team, averaging 12.5 points per game. Entering his sophomore year he was confident and determined to continue his development, becoming a knock down three-point shooter who averaged 19.6 points. Klay finished up his college career as a junior, making remarkable improvements that cemented his position as an NBA prospect. Thompson led the 2011 Pac-10 Conference in scoring, broke the Pac-10 Tournament record with 43 points on 8 three-pointers, and finished his WSU career as the third leading scorer in the school’s history. The local Orange County kid was making his hometown community honored to say that he is one of their own, while also making his family extremely proud in the process.
At the conclusion of his junior season at Washington State, Klay declared for the 2011 NBA Draft. On draft nigh, he saw his childhood dreams come directly into fruition as he was selected 11th overall by the Golden State Warriors.
In the years since, Klay has become arguably one of the greatest shooters in the history of the game. His various accolades include being selected to multiple NBA All-Star Games, and most recently winning the NBA championship in 2015.
With all of the countless accomplishments and overwhelming success throughout his career, Klay Thompson has become a perfect role model for high school athletes everywhere. He is especially recognized in his hometown community of Orange County, as he has become a perfect example of how if you put your blood, sweat, and tears into something that anything is possible.