OAKLAND — The night before the Golden State Warriors held off the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday at Oracle Arena, Klay Thompson and his dad, Mychal, broadcaster and former member of the Showtime Lakers, did what they always do when their busy NBA lives cross paths. They hung out at Klay’s house and ate dinner.
“We talk like we’re typical NBA fans,” Mychal said before calling the Warriors’ 113-106 win.
“We always talk about the league and different teams and different players and how the league is going and what to look for in the future as far as who’s the biggest threat to the Warriors.”
Klay, as his head coach Steve Kerr so often says, is as low maintenance as it gets. He’s the chillest dude in the NBA.
“That’s how he is off the court too,” Mychal said. “He just wants to play golf, shoot baskets, hang out with his friends, hang out with Rocco. Klay, he doesn’t seek the spotlight or always [need to] be in the center of things. He’s quite content just to go fishing or play some golf by himself.”
On a far more typical night, when Mychal is in one NBA city and Klay is in another, dad still makes sure to keep an eye on his nonchalant son.
On Wednesday, while Klay was dropping 25 first-half points on the Memphis Grizzlies, Mike Trudell, the Lakers sideline reporter, tweeted out a picture of Mychal watching the game on his phone as the team bus made its way to the Houston airport.
“Thank god for modern technology,” Mychal said.
Mychal’s always watching but that doesn’t mean he’s forever peppering Klay with texts and advice. The No. 1 overall pick in 1978, the elder Thompson is the anti-LaVar Ball.
“I could not get away with that,” Mychal said. “My boys think LaVar is entertaining but they don’t want me doing it.”
His wife, Julie, wouldn’t stand for it either.
“He would be divorced too,” joked Trudell, who was seated next to Mychal in the Lakers radio booth.
When Klay first arrived in the NBA, his parents would dole out an allowance and even fine him out of his paycheck for foolish actions on the court.
Those days are long gone.
“What do I have to tell him?” Mychal said. “His career has lapped mine 10 times. He’s a two-time gold medalist, two-time NBA champ, three-time All-Star — obviously I won a couple of rings, but I was just a role player. He’s a primary player.”
Perched atop the lower bowl at centercourt, where Mychal makes the radio call, nights like Friday, when the pair share a gym, can be stressful for dad. That was the case last Monday when Klay was 6-for-24 from the field at Staples Center in the Warrior’ overtime win.
“It’s fun when he’s playing well. When he’s having an off night like he had in LA, I get frustrated for him,” Mychal said. “When he’s on his game, when he’s doing his thing, it’s a lot of fun — even though it’s a lot of tension because I want him to do well and when he’s not playing the Lakers, I want him to win every game.”
As the Warriors pushed their win streak to 11, Klay had another off night with dad in the building, scoring 20 points but making just seven of his 18 field goals.
True to form, the understated Splash Brother slipped out of the locker room before it was his turn to take the podium.
Mychal headed off to the airport, a team flight to Portland awaiting. The Warriors and Lakers don’t meet again this season, which means the next time Mychal will see Klay play in person will be the postseason — his favorite time of year.
“The playoffs are very tense, but I get a lot of enjoyment watching him play,” Mychal said. “I’m very thankful he can live his dream like this.”