OAKLAND, Calif. -- As Warriors guard Steph Curry settles into his seat, Klay Thompson's dad can hardly wait to get the conversation rolling.
"How's the chest?" Mychal Thompson asks Curry. "You feeling any pressure on it lately?"
Curry looks at him blankly.
"You know what that means?" Thompson continued. "It means that anything less than the Western Conference finals is going to be a disappointment."
Thompson smiles. He understands expectations, having won two NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. Sitting to his right is Steph's dad, former sharpshooter Dell Curry, who spent 16 seasons in the league and was the Sixth Man of the Year in 1993-94. To Thompson's left is his son Klay.
They are all here, at one sitting, for the first time. And for the better part of a half-hour last week, the Warriors' heralded guards and their fathers work a a four-man weave, recounting tales of backyard H-O-R-S-E games, hard-earned lessons--and that time Robert Parish's dunk was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's fault (allegedly).
The sons are the top single-season 3-point tandem in NBA history, having connected on 483 3s last season. Both fathers are now broadcasters: Curry with the Charlotte Bobcats and Thompson for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Welcome to the scorer's table.
Q: For the players, what's the hardest your dads have ever been on you in terms of basketball?
Steph: My senior year in high school, my dad was an assistant coach. I can't remember which game it was, but it was a long car ride home. I didn't shoot enough. I was like a really unselfish player as a point guard. And in certain situations in the game, I could have been a little bit more aggressive trying to score and leading the team that way. I kind of shied away from that a little bit and he got into me.
Dell: That is a cardinal sin. (Laughter) I remember that. He was passing it to some kid. But I was like, 'The guy is open for a reason. They want him to shoot, son.'
Klay: My dad's been pretty mellow when it comes to coaching me. "-- I only have one vivid memory of him getting mad at me. And that was on the air, actually. The first year we played the Lakers at Staples Center, I had made three or four of my first shots. As a shooter, you kind of have a heat check. So that fifth one I kind of pulled up for a transition 3. I think I airballed it. My friend sent me a sound bite from the radio where you hear my dad say, "Klay, what are you doing, man?!"
Q: Do I have this right, Mychal? Do you call your son 'Thompson' on the air?
Mychal: No! I call him Klay. I wanted to call him 'Klayboy' but his mother wouldn't let me. (Laughter)
Q: Do you (Steph and Klay) ever go back and listen to what your dads say about you during a broadcast?
Klay: Sometimes. I'll Tivo the game when we play the Lakers. I like hearing him talk on the radio. I'm not going to lie: It's pretty entertaining. He kind of brings a different personality than I see at home. His radio personality is pretty fun. He holds the Warriors high, but I always feel like we're second place to the Lakers.
Mychal: Well, that's true. Absolutely. My blood is purple and gold.
Klay: Yeah. Hopefully we can dethrone them this year.
Mychal: People in L.A. are always calling me up on the radio and asking about this situation: Score tied, 4 seconds to go, Klay is in the corner taking the shot against the Lakers. What do you want that shot to do? For me? I want him to miss. (Laughter) "-- Now, Dell, go on record: What do you say?
Dell: Oh, man. You can't go against blood.
Klay: Thank you!
Steph: Blood is thicker than water.
Q: For the players, what's your favorite moment of your dad's play, whether it was something you saw in person or maybe looked up on YouTube?
Mychal: Remember, you were laughing at me a couple of months ago?
Klay: Yeah. This guy said he never got dunked on. We were watching 'Hardwood Classics' and Robert Parish dunks on him. Me and my brothers haven't stopped giving him grief.
Mychal: It wasn't my fault. I was trying to help out. I got caught and Robert Parish dunked. C'mon! I was talking about straight on.
Dell: It wasn't his man.
Mychal: That's right. I was guarding (Kevin) McHale. (Parish) was Kareem's guy. It was Kareem's fault. (Laughter)
Klay: I pulled out the tape against the Spurs when my dad had 40, and that was pretty impressive. He was hitting jumpers and his little ugly hook shot. It was effective though, very effective. It was quick. It was kind of like David Lee's baseline hook.
Steph: Other than the uniforms and the flattop? ... Hmmm. The 1994 playoffs against Boston, in Charlotte, they had a last-second play drawn up and (my dad) was the in-bounder underneath the basket. They ran a play for Alonzo Mourning and he made the assist to Alonzo at the free-throw line for the game-winner and then was the first person on the dogpile. 'Zo had his hands up celebrating the shot. That was one of my favorite memories of my dad being involved in basketball.
Q: How often do you guys talk during the NBA season?
Klay: Since this guy (his dad) learned how to text, quite a lot. (Laughter) And that's not a lie, either. He'll just text me after each game saying great job rebounding or staying out of foul trouble, little stuff like that.
Mychal: Yeah, little stuff like that. In this day and age, with social media and the technology, you can just leave text messages. You don't have to talk as much, which I'm sure the kids really appreciate.
Klay and Steph: Mmm-hmm.
Mychal: You don't want to inundate them. Because they have coaches. You don't want to be too overbearing as a parent. You have to give them some room.
Dell: That's me. I don't coach much anymore. They have the best in the game here and it's their job to coach them. So you get too many people in your ear and it can be a not-too-good experience. So we talk about golf more than we do basketball.
Q: Steph, what's it like having your brother, Seth, here? And you, too, Dell, You've now got two sons on the same roster.
Dell: Well, it's a good opportunity for Seth. Coming off of injury, he wants to be in the NBA. They're giving him a chance here. Now he has to go out and improve himself. "-- He can learn from guys who know how to play and do it the right way in a great organization. We're blessed that he's here.
Steph: It's kind of a throwback to high school, when I played with him my senior year and his sophomore year. He seems like he's playing well in pickup and things like that. It's an opportunity for him to hopefully leave an impact on training camp and preseason and hopefully make the team and start his own career.
Q: What were your backyard games like?
Mychal: It was easy for me, Dell, because I could just back Klay or his brothers into the low post. With you being a guard, you couldn't keep up with them little young quick boys outside. But I had the advantage of playing in the paint.
Dell: (pats his belly) I had a little girth on them.
Mychal: What age were you when Steph and Seth started beating you?
Steph: I don't even remember if we played 1-on-1 like that.
Dell: I'm not a 1-on-1 guy. We played H-O-R-S-E.
Steph: We just played H-O-R-S-E all the time. I probably got you once or twice in middle school, maybe. I don't remember the first time. ... I just remember the first time I beat you in golf. It was on your birthday and I was 13.
(This transcript was edited for content and clarity. For the full transcript, go to mercurynews.com.)
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