I wanted to ask you a few basketball questions. After so many consecutive years of being dominant, I imagine last year could’ve been very frustrating. Not just because of the losses, but because the injuries too. How did you process that?
It’s been a whole emotional roller coaster, man. Losing the 2019 Finals, KD and Klay going down, it takes an emotional toll. Injuries are part of the game, but there’s no preparation for when you or a teammate goes through it. So looking into the beginning of last season, knowing Klay was going to be out for the year, KD’s in Brooklyn, a new cast of characters, there was a motivation to prove a lot of people wrong. We knew it was going to take a lot to be contenders.
And then I go down with a broken hand, and Draymond is in and out of the lineup. You don’t control anything, and you’re just in that wait-and-see type of vibe, trying to get back healthy and stay optimistic about when we all come back. Obviously, the COVID shutdown adds a whole other wrinkle, where we’re waiting seven months where we’re not a part of the bubble. Trying to stay close as a team even though we’re apart. And now you go into this year and you got Klay going down, with so much excitement and anticipation for what the draft was going to look like and free agency.
Last week was rough. We’re still catching our breath from that news. At the end of the day, once the ball starts bouncing in a couple of weeks, it’s one of those moments for me and Draymond, especially, as the elder statesman in the room, the guys that have been around from the start of this and to now. Our confidence is high, and we know it’s going to look different. It’s going to require us to learn and grow really quickly once the training camp starts. But we got talent. We got the pieces. We just got to let our culture and our experience take over once we get back out there on the floor.
You were quoted saying how you’ve seen some people be like, “Oh, well, this year is a wash for them now,” counting you guys out already. Do you feel disrespected by that at all?
If I wanted to, I could always find something to be disrespected about. You hear all the noise and obviously there’s a reaction in the media, [on] other teams. Especially because there was that unknown of the amount of time off. Me, Klay, Draymond, it was a good storyline of “Oh, these three guys are back. The Warriors are going to be right back where they are with a new cast of characters.” There’s no surprise that the immediate reaction was like, “Oh, this is a fatal blow for them.” Obviously we want to be at full strength, but I don’t need any other motivation at this point. I do hear the chatter, I do hear the dynasty’s over, that we’re not even relevant anymore, and all that type of stuff.
You always laugh at it, but it’s hard not to hear it. But I’m hoping, more for the guys that are in the locker room now that have seen what we’ve done in the past and want to be a part of this next chapter, that they get a little chip on their shoulders, too. Because it’s not just about me, it’s about the whole team. So I’m kind of hyped about that perspective, because I feel like if I was in their shoes, coming to the team with this much expectation and guys are talking about us the way they are, that you would take that a certain way and want to come full steam ahead once training camp starts.