After the Warriors’ stunning comeback win against the Jazz last week, Golden State got a huge boost in the Western Conference standings just before NBA Playoffs. But it was also a big night for Bay Area basketball fans for a completely different reason.
It was the hug heard ’round the Bay between Warriors veteran and NBA champ Klay Thompson and relative newcomer and rising star Jordan Poole.
In case you missed it, here’s a photo, courtesy of a tweet/article from The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson.
Poole really leaned into that hug, with his head resting on Thompson’s shoulder. I’m not a hug analyst, but I’m with everyone in the Bay Area — that was a special moment. I noticed it live while watching the game at the sports bar, soon after I talked my buddy into staying because he thought the Warriors were cooked with eight minutes to go in the game.
It’s wild, but Thompson was gone for so long with his injuries, that he hadn’t played with Poole at all before this season. And with Poole playing out of his mind as Thompson had expected struggles (relatively speaking) getting back in rhythm, it’s possible that Thompson felt some type of way about the young Poole’s ascension.
A few days after the hug, Poole revealed that there was some meaning behind the embrace. Poole wanted Thompson to know that he’s the “lil bro” in this situation, no matter who is shooting better on any given night or stretch of games.
That’s pretty awesome. And the sentiment is potentially vital for Golden State. Poole’s style of play involves a ton of natural confidence — so much so, it may appear to some that he’s trying to take control of the team.
But Poole’s flamboyant confidence doesn’t have to be threatening in any way whatsoever to the Warriors veterans he watched as he grew up. That’s key because it appears Poole has to play with some “extra sauce” so to speak, to be himself and perform to the level he has.
So when Poole goes crazy on offense and mayyybe ignores Thompson, Draymond Green, or even Stephen Curry, if only for a flash, he wants his veterans to know that he’s still the little brother of the situation, and the veterans are the big bros. That’s a mature attitude from Poole, who is playing like an All-Star lately.
In the playoffs, expect Poole to play alongside Thompson and Curry to form a potent scoring backcourt. Can Poole’s accent help the Warriors rekindle their dynasty? The answer is yes, but he’s still the little bro learning at the feet of the masters, no matter how well he performs.
Thank goodness he’s aware of that fact. Thompson is, as well, as he continues to regain his form, with his hug with Poole a moment we’ll remember forever in the Bay Area, especially if the Warriors win another title.