Klay Thompson wants his Golden State Warriors to be like Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
With the Warriors set to begin their quest for their third NBA title in four years, Thompson is welcoming comparisons to Jordan’s Bulls of the 1990s that won six chips over eight seasons.
“So, we’re what, like only a third of the way there,” he told ESPN. “I think it’s close. We still have a long way to go, but I do see the fandom, the fanfare like the Bulls had in the ’90s. Every time the Bulls came to town, that was the ticket of the year. Now it’s when the Warriors come to town, that’s the must-see game.”
With a Big Four of Thompson, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, interest in the defending champs doesn’t figure to be dwindling anytime soon.
“We don’t take that for granted,” Thompson said. “That’s such a cool position to be in. We rarely play in front of a crowd that’s not sold out. That’s so special. It’s hard to really grasp that as a player. So, I think it’s close. I still think we’re not on their level yet, but that’s what we aspire to be of the 2000s. We aspire to be that dynasty that will be in the minds of NBA fans forever.”
Now in China to take part in the NBA’s Global Games and face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Thompson and company have almost been as warmly embraced abroad as they are in Oakland.
Fans wait for hours to catch a glimpse of the players and the stadium has been filled during the team’s pregame activities. Such spectacles have many harkening back to the days of Jordan and the Bulls.
“It was cool a couple years ago when we were chasing that 73-win season,” Thompson said. “Just being compared to that team is an honor. There’s definitely motivation. I would love to match up, play against Michael Jordan. That would be a dream. Obviously, we don’t have a time machine, but that would be pretty special to see that.”
Golden State coach Steve Kerr has the unique perspective of having been there to witness both dynasties in action.
“We can’t match what the Bulls did,” said Kerr, who was a key reserve on three of those title-winning teams. “They won six championships in eight years. And we have two in three years, which is great, but we’d like to keep going. We have to work hard and get lucky too. You have to stay healthy, and things have to go your way, so we’ll do our best and enjoy the ride while we’re on it.”
Curry said the key will be for the team to find a way of keeping its edge.
“Every year, no matter how much talent you have or how much success you’ve had the previous year, you have to show up and regain that,” he said. “For us, that’s up to us. That’s something that we can control.”
[Featured Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]