Klay Thompson delivers heartfelt tribute to Kobe Bryant and his family as he accepts Best Comeback Athlete award

Robert Marvi
2 Min Read

On Wednesday, Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson won the ESPY award for Best Comeback Athlete after battling back from two severe injuries to win his fourth NBA championship.

During his acceptance speech, Thompson not only thanked the family of late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, but he also revealed that the Black Mamba provided him with the inspiration he needed during his rehab.

Thompson has made a name for himself over the past several years as one of the league’s deadliest shooters and one of basketball’s greatest shooters ever.

But after winning his first three rings, he suffered an ACL injury during the 2019 NBA Finals, which the Warriors lost to the Toronto Raptors. The ailment forced him to miss all of the 2019-20 season.

Then, just prior to the 2020-21 campaign, Thompson tore his Achilles, leading to another year of rehab.

After he returned to game action midway through this past season, he was inconsistent with his shooting, but he seemingly started to regain his mojo in the playoffs, coming up big when the Warriors really needed him to.

Thompson, of course, is the son of Mychal Thompson, who played a key role on the Lakers’ 1987 and 1988 championship teams as a backup big man.

These days, the elder Thompson is a color commentator for radio broadcasts of Lakers games.

Although the younger Thompson is an integral part of the Warriors’ dynasty, his Purple and Gold roots and influence run deep.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif., and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s and fell in love with the Nick Van Exel-led Lakers teams. He truly cherishes the Kobe Bryant-era of Lakers basketball and the five world championships that came with it, and is looking forward to the team's next NBA title.