Klay Thompson addresses Barkley’s criticism: ‘It hurt my heart’

Golden State’s Klay Thompson, frustrated by the criticism he received from TNT’s Charles Barkley, used Thursday’s presser after the Warriors beat the Heat 123-120 to speak his mind, stating Barkley’s comments ‘hurt my heart.’

‘There was a time when Klay Thompson was the best two-way guard in the NBA and he’s not the same guy and that’s because of injuries,’ Barkley said Tuesday while analyzing the Warriors’ 29-point loss to the Suns. ‘Is he done? No, I don’t think he’s done. I think he’s slowing down and it’s catching up with him, that’s why he’s frustrated.’

Thompson, 32, had back-to-back injuries to his ACL and Achilles. He spent nearly 950 days between Game 6 of the 2019 Finals to his return in January 2022 in recovery.

‘I’ve got one thing to say,’ Thompson said. ‘So, it hurts when someone like Charles Barkley, with the platform that he has, says you’re not the same player prior to the injuries you had. It’s like ‘No, duh, man.’ Consecutive years, like. I tore my ACL and Achilles in consecutive years and still helped the team win a championship. It hurt hearing that because I put so much freaking effort to get back to this point. It’s hard to even put into words what I had to do to be the player I am today.’

Thompson had 19 points against Heat Thursday and was 6 for 19 from the field and 5 for 14 from three-point range. 

‘I played 55, 57 games in three years, Thompson continued. ‘Give me some freaking time to get that back. To hear someone say ‘Oh, he’s not the same player as he was prior to the injuries.’ Like, duh. Who goes through that and comes back… I don’t know, it just hurt my heart hearing that. But you know, I’m going to internalize it and it’s going to be fuel for me to be even better. I’m very proud of what we accomplished last year and I feel like I was a huge part of it. I’m not going to let these injuries be a crutch for me. I’m just going to keep going and I’m going to have a great year. You can bet on that.’

Steph Curry came to Thompson’s defense, supporting his teammate’s efforts.

‘The comments are part of our success, like you’re always going to be in a spotlight and people care about how you’re playing and care to comment positively or negatively because they know that will move the needle,’ Curry told reporters after the game Thursday. ‘And when you say certain names, people are going to pay attention.’

Contact Analis Bailey at aabailey@usatoday.com or on Twitter @analisbailey.

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