Long before Kevin Love and Klay Thompson went head to head in the NBA finals, the two were childhood friends. Love and Thompson have always known they’d be great even while playing Little League baseball, a sport that wouldn’t factor into their future legacies. Read on to discover how Love feels about his childhood buddy.
Kevin Love and Klay Thompson’s friendship growing up
Almost two decades ago, a group of parents in Lake Oswego, Oregon, decided to organize their children and others to form an All-Star Little League. The plan was to train the children to compete in the Little League World Series.
The team’s leading players were a rough 10-year-old Love and a soft-spoken 9-year-old Thompson. Love was the tallest one in the group and always seemed to overpower his teammates. While Love was more focused on crushing home runs in the pitch, Thompson’s game was more about skill and diplomacy than dominance.
Their love for basketball and shift from baseball
Although the two Little Leaguers loved baseball, some factors necessitated they abandon it for basketball. Thompson’s dad, Mychal, played for the Lakers, so his family moved to Orange County. Love had a voice to his ear, his father Stan, who nudged him toward basketball. Stan urged him to quit baseball and focus on basketball, a move Love has always been grateful for.
The pair thrived in high school basketball. In 2005, Love even cheered on his friend as Thompson displayed his ball-handling skills and silky jumper to crowds in AAU Tournament. It was then that Love realized his childhood buddy’s talent.
Love graduated from Lake Oswego High School with an outstanding record of 2,828 points. As a senior, Love had already earned the title of Gatorade National Male Athlete of the Year with an impressive 33.9 points per game. Thompson went to Santa Margarita Catholic High School, where he ranked as one of the best shooting guards in the country.
In an interview with GQ Magazine, Love stated that Thompson has always been the person everyone liked to be around. He recalled always hanging out with Thompson at their house. Love reminisced of his closeness with Klay’s parents.
Love stated that no matter how much he would try to get a rise out of Thompson, the latter wouldn’t budge, adding that Klay always had a certain air of confidence about him to date.
Klay Thompson and Kevin Love NBA Finals faceoff
The two players have always had intertwined paths. At one point, they were even nearly traded for one another. The Timberwolves wanted to trade forward Kevin Love for a Klay Thompson-led package. The only hurdle was Jerry West, who believed Thompson would become an outstanding NBA player, thus the Golden State Warriors decided to retain Thompson.
The two NBA All-Star players specialize in three-point shooting. Thompson’s 11 three-pointers set an NBA record for most in a playoff. The two athletes have always met in NBA finals, with Love playing for the Cavaliers and Thompson representing the Warriors.
Thompson’s left ACL injury set him back for some seasons as he focuses on recovering. This means that the two childhood friends would not be meeting in the court for some time.