It’s been a rough year for Klay Thompson in some respects. He tore his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals (which the Warriors lost) and is still recovering. But it’s not all gloom and doom for the sharpshooting guard. Thompson still has a big contract with the Golden State Warriors as well as one of the top sneaker contracts in the NBA. Let’s take a look at Thompson’s current status, his contract, and how his unique shoe deal nets him a sizable portion of his revenue.
Klay Thompson’s current status
Right now, Thompson is still in recovery from the ACL tear he suffered against the Toronto Raptors. Before the NBA suspended play, the Warriors were generally regarded as one of the league’s worst teams.
With Kevin Durant leaving via free agency before the year, Steph Curry out most of this season due to injury, and Thompson’s ACL, the team didn’t expect to match last year’s output. They’ve been even worse than expectations, however.
Help should be on the way next season, though. Clutch Points reported that Thompson’s father, former NBA player Mychal Thompson, provided an update on his son’s recovery in April. According to his Dad, it’s been so far, so good:
“He’s feeling good, he’s working out on his own. He’s doing all of his drills. He says he feels good,” said Mychal. “He walks around without any kind of limp, no kind of soreness. So he says he’s feeling great and he’ll be ready to go at full speed next year.”
That’s music to every Golden State fans’ ears for sure. The better news for Thompson is that while he recovers, he still has a great deal of wealth to fall back on.
Klay Thompson’s contract
Heading into last offseason, the Warriors had two major question marks. Would they resign Kevin Durant, and would they resign Thompson? While Durant seemed to be destined for Brooklyn, Golden State made signing Thompson a priority. They got their man, too: according to Spotrac, the team signed him last season to a five-year deal worth almost $190 million.
The contract is proof positive that the team still highly values Thompson as one of their biggest pieces. While the team is down now, it’s hard to imagine them staying that way for long: once Thompson returns (presumably at full strength) alongside Curry, they can at least expect a trip back to the playoffs.
But as hefty as Thompson’s contract is, it’s not the only place he draws significant revenue from. He also makes quite a bit from his sneaker deal.
A big-time sneaker deal
Whereas most NBA players sign a shoe deal with one of the big-name U.S. shoe companies (Nike, Converse, etc.), Klay Thompson zigged where they all zagged.
According to Forbes, after initially signing with Nike, Thompson moved to upstart Chinese sneaker company Anta for a big deal in 2015. He re-upped with them in 2017 for a 10-year deal that pays him $9 million per year.
It was a bold move for Thompson, but it was savvy for a few reasons. For one, it allowed him to become the biggest name at that company. Other players going for more recognizable shoe companies in this country are forced to line up behind other, bigger-name players. When it comes to Anta, Thompson is their marquee, headlining name.
Another benefit is that it exposes him to the world’s biggest market. Thompson makes annual visits to China every summer on behalf of the company. As the most populous nation in the world, it allows him to market to an entirely different audience that has shown its proclivity for the NBA game in the past.
Thompson’s shoe deal isn’t just a high-paying deal: it also could open up other sponsorship and branding opportunities in one of the top global markets.