Before Saturday’s practice, some of Thompson’s teammates hung a No. 77 jersey in his locker. Warriors forward Draymond Green posted two short videos on his Instagram stories of the jersey hanging in Thompson’s locker and then another video of Thompson sporting the jersey while walking around the Warriors’ weight room.
When prompted by Green to give a message to the fans, Thompson, who posted a couple of times recently on social media about how disappointed he was to not be named to the list, took the good-natured ribbing in stride.
“77!” Thompson said. “Best player of all time, baby!”
“Get the new jersey!” Warriors star Stephen Curry said with a laugh. “New jersey alert!”
Thompson has missed the past two seasons as he continues to recover from a torn left ACL suffered in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals and a torn right Achilles suffered on Nov. 18, 2020.
“I didn’t know what it meant at first,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after practice. “And then somebody explained it. I thought that was quite, quite funny.”
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 24, 2021
Kerr thought it was a good sign that Thompson was able to joke around about the snub despite being disappointed. The reason the jersey was No. 77 and not No. 76 was because the NBA announced there was a tie in the voting, adding an extra player and making it a 76-player list.
“You have to have humor with everything,” Kerr said. “His teammates obviously got that done to have a laugh with him but I think all these guys, they’re so competitive by nature, they wouldn’t have made it this far if they weren’t really competitive. And at some point guys latch onto things to drive them. Klay has accomplished pretty much everything. He’s a multi-time champion, multi-time All-Star, one of the great three-point shooters ever. He’s already competitive, but if that’s what it takes to make him more competitive then we’ll take it.”
Kerr had an idea as to which one of the Warriors players might have been the brains behind the jersey operation.
“I’m guessing Steph,” Kerr said. “But I can’t confirm that. It’s a guess.”