Klay Thompson return to Pullman to retire Jersey
Washington State University honored professional basketball player Klay Thompson by retiring his collegiate jersey at Beasley Coliseum January 18, 2020.
The three-time NBA champion returned to Pullman for the first time since his professional debut.
“The atmosphere during Klay’s return was triumphant. You could just feel the excitement in the air,” WSU student Jimmy Hopkins said.
During his time at WSU, Thompson averaged 21.6 points per game, lead the nation in three-pointers made and broke four WSU basketball records, WSU Athletics Communications said.
Prior to playing for the Golden State Warriors, International teams or winning NBA championships, he found home first in Pullman, Thompson said during his halftime speech.
“I will always be a coug,” he said.
“To me being a Coug, is family, it’s loyalty, it’s friendship and it’s just having your brethren or your sisters’ back. That’s what being a Coug entails,” Thompson said in an interview after the ceremony.
Thompson’s appearance at WSU meant something different to everyone who attended the event.
“It makes me even prouder to be a Coug and to know that he is out in the public eye representing how great this school is,” Shea Bowdish WSU student and Golden State Warrior fan.
In a jersey retirement, the number found on that specific jersey may never be worn again on the team.
The retired jersey is hung from the scaffolds of the building as a display. The physical jersey is not hung, instead a banner with the athlete’s name and former number are draped from the ceiling for the fans to see.
Thompson is one of the only two basketball players to have their jersey retired at WSU.
The other jersey, number 55 belonged to Steve Puidokas.
Both Thompson and Puidokas account for two of the seven athletes in all of WSU’s sports history to have their jersey retired, WSU Athletic Communications said.
In an interview after the ceremony, Thompson said he couldn’t believe that his number would hang in Beasley Coliseum forever. He said he felt lucky to have the opportunity and credited his parents and teammates for the success in his career.
This event was held to celebrate a person who broke records and ironically the night was a record breaker itself.
When Thompson returned to retire his jersey, the stadium had more than 10,000 people attend. The highest attendance in the history of Beasley Coliseum. The last time Beasley Coliseum had this many people in its stands, Thompson was playing his final home game in Pullman, according to the Spokesman Review.
“Even though I don’t go to WSU, seeing Klay Thompson in person is something I couldn’t pass up on as a basketball fan and a Washingtonian,” Chance Williamson, Richland, said.
Thompson said the time he spent at WSU helped him develop into the player he is today. He said he was thrown into a leadership role right off the bat, and that has carried into his professional career.
Since Thompson’s eight years in the NBA, he has won three NBA championships, played on the 2012 All-Rookie team and started on five NBA All-Star teams.
“No matter what uni I put on- hopefully a Warriors for the rest of my career- I will always be a Coug,” Thompson said in his speech.