The three-time NBA champ finally returns to the court for the Warriors after two major injuries — but even as he sat out, the Klay brand never slept.
That’s how long it has been since Klay Thompson has suited up for a Golden State Warriors game. In September 2021, snaps came out of the five-time All-Star fully dressed, taking shots after a Dubs preseason practice — but there’s something different about breaking out a crisp game jersey at long last.
Thompson’s story is well known. The sharpshooter missed the entire 2019-20 season with a torn left ACL incurred amidst some gutsy play in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against Toronto. His return to the hardwood was derailed when he ruptured his right Achilles during his rehab campaign just before the start of the 2020-2021 season.
Tonight, all of the practice, all of the reps, and all of the rehab culminate in his triumphant return against one of the biggest surprises of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers (a team he happened to have faced in the NBA Finals four straight times).
In the meantime, Klay has kept himself busy. He’s one of the Bay’s most notorious sea captains, and has amassed a substantial portfolio of business ventures that resonate to the far corners of the globe.
The Warrior at Work
2011 Draft Position: Round 1, 11th Overall
Team: Golden State Warriors
Career Earnings: $182,344,704 (includes 2021-22 season)
Current Contract: 5 years, $190 million (signed in July 2019)
2021-22 Salary: $37,980,720
Key endorsements: Anta, Bevel, Boss, NERF, UberEats, Waiakea Water
Throughout his career, Thompson has partnered with a wide range of brands and businesses. Forbes estimates his endorsements to be worth $16 million annually and across the board, Thompson integrates his signature personality, adding a dash of fun to his business matters.
During the 2014-15 season, Thompson made waves in the sneaker world when he left Nike to join Chinese sneaker company Anta. After the inaugural deal, he signed a 10-year extension in 2017, which is reported to be worth $80 million before bonuses, making it one of the richest sneaker deals in the league.
His famous promotional tours to China launched the #ChinaKlay hashtag, which went on to become a true viral sensation that’s part truth, part legend.
More recently, he leveraged three of his favorite things – boats, basketball, and burgers – at once with the “Klay Trey” deal in partnership with Uber Eats.
Klay the Investor
During his time on the sidelines, Klay has upped his business portfolio. In an interview with the Uninterrupted, Thompson discussed his investing journey, saying that being in the thick of Silicon Valley inspired him to get more involved with start-up investing.
And part of the learning curve includes figuring out which businesses are the right place to put your cash.
Thompson acknowledges that understanding the world of investing has been its own journey for him. As a younger player, he was distracted by the shiny opportunities that came with quick endorsements. The checks eclipsed intentionality. However, as he’s gotten deeper into it, he has come to value the importance of curating a portfolio that he believes in and ensuring that his partnerships can be beneficial to him in both the shorter and longer terms.
But for Thompson, basketball comes first, even as it relates to his investments. He’s invested in a number of endeavors, many of which reside at the intersections of sports, wellness, and technology. He cites the NBAPA as a key resource for helping him vet opportunities. In the last two years, he’s made some big bets including participating in funding rounds for the following companies:
Additionally, he co-founded Just Live CBD with USWNT star Alex Morgan, X Games champ Travis Pastrana, and skateboarder Paul Rodriguez. The company makes a wide range of cannabis products for sleep, stress, recovery, and relief that are developed by the athletes in partnership with industry experts. Klay credits the CBD-based line with helping him in his own path to recovery.
And Thompson used his time off the court to chalk up one more first — his silver screen debut. He was featured alongside LeBron James in 2021’s Space Jam: A New Legacy.
While the Dubs have mounted considerable success over the last two-and-a-half seasons, there was a piece of the puzzle that was perceptibly missing. Starting tonight, No. 11 will lace up for the first time ever for a home game at the Chase Center.
And it’s safe to say Dub Nation is thrilled to have him — and all he represents — back in the rotation.