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Klay Thompson proves NBA players can motivate themselves with anything

Sep 4, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

Puerto Rico v United States Getty Images

Millions of people play basketball, but only a select few reach the NBA.

What separates the pros from the rest of us? Height, sure. But there’s also a mentality.

NBA players, with only rare exceptions, are hyper-competitive and confident. Just look how many players (who clearly aren’t) answer “me” when asked the game’s best player. It’s a delusion that helps them work toward that goal.

Another common trick: claiming underdog status at any chance. NBA players love to prove wrong the critics and haterz, even when there are no critics and haterz.

Klay Thompson, representing Team USA in the World Cup, has just taken that to a new level.

Thompson, via Marc Stein of ESPN:

A lot of people out there are writing us off


Nobody is writing Team USA off. Nobody.

Sure, some people might think Spain – with Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka and playing at home – will win. But there’s a huge difference between predicting a Spain victory and “writing off” the Americans, a bridge no one is crossing.

Objectively, the U.S. is 8/13 favorites to win the World Cup.

But this extremely inaccurate perception will motivate Thompson to play better, and that’s all that really matters. That quote was for himself, not for us.

  1. imakcds - Sep 4, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    why is it that everytime I have seen Klay touch the ball in this tournament and the warm up games he is jacking up a long distance shot??????

    • EvanZ - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      Maybe because he’s shooting 10/24 (42%) behind the line, which is the equivalent of a layup?

      • imakcds - Sep 16, 2014 at 10:19 AM

        EvanZ: are you serious???if you make 42% of your layups, you won’t even make the 5th grade team. I don’t know where you learned the game, but you didn’t learn much.

  2. av416 - Sep 4, 2014 at 9:59 AM


  3. avb300 - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Looking at it from a completely objective viewpoint, I really think Spain will win. Pau, Marc and Calderon probably have triple the FIBA experience Team USA has combined and they’ll have ridiculous homecourt advantage. And they have Ibaka, Rudy Fernandez, Navarro, and more.

    Not losing at home is hugee motivation. In the ’08 Olympics the game was pretty close even with all our big name stars. We’re probably more talented now but lack in every other area – continuity, int’l experience, probably even NBA experience.

    I hope we win but it’ll be a heck of a game.

  4. EvanZ - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    “A lot of people” could be a 100 people, it could be a million people in the world. It doesn’t have to be the majority or even a large percentage. It just has to be a group of people big enough to be called “a lot”. It’s completely subjective.

    I think Spain will win. I’m sure I’m not alone.

  5. connorchew - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Talent trumps lesser talent the majority of the time. Add in that we have determined players, and it’s a wrap. We win it all this year

  6. bkbell3 - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Klay is an underdog, with a career 13.9 per and 14.4 last year. Way over rated one trick pony.

    • sportsfan18 - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:40 PM

      Point 1. I’m not a Klay or a Warriors fan.

      Point 2. He’s young, not been in the league long yet. Many guys didn’t get much better til yr 3 and 4 in the league.

      Point 3. He’s REALLY good at his one trick…

      Like so good that it works out to the following…

      His career .410% at 3 pt range means he’s making 41 out of 100 3’s. 41 three’s is 123 points.

      For a two point shooter to score 123 points, they would have to make 61.5 shots out of 100 shot attempts.

      Fine, round it down to 61. VERY few guys shoot 61% from 2 pt range.

      Due to Klay being so good at his one trick (and free throws too), he shoots a very good, well above average true shooting percentage.

      The kid will get better still at the rest of his game. How good? Don’t know and I’m not a fan of his. But he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet.

      • bkbell3 - Sep 5, 2014 at 6:36 AM

        Also his free throw % has gone down every year from his first year at 86% to last year at 79% but he only goes to the line 2.3 times a game which is terrible for a scoring 2 guard and makes it a non-factor in your argument.

      • innovativethinking87 - Sep 9, 2014 at 11:50 PM

        And he plays greats D

  7. gasan2013pananaw - Sep 6, 2014 at 2:41 AM

    He’s wasting his time with the Warriors. Go and get your Dad’s Purple and Gold uniform. That’s what you deserve and where you properly belong. It’s one of my wish and dream.

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