OAKLAND (CBS SF) — There is nothing typical about Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson.
When he was in a slump during the opening NBA playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers, he dove into the Pacific Ocean to clear his mind and find his shooting touch.
During the season he’s more apt to be taking quiet walks in the park with his dog, Rocco, instead of hanging out a club in San Francisco’s South Of Market district.
So when he was asked how he is preparing himself for Tuesday night’s opening NBA Western Conference Finals against Portland, his answers should not have been too surprising.
“I put on some classical Pandora or some nature sounds,” Thompson said of his pre-game routine. “I can’t listen to rap or hip hop while I do it because I just get distracted. Just something pleasant in the background.”
Thompson admits the mental part of the game is much more difficult than preparing the body for the physical demands.
“It’s a challenge,” he said. “It’s much harder than working out. But, especially for me … my mind races, so it’s good practice for me.”
When asked about his classical go-to playlist, Thompson said with a smile — “Mozart, Beethoven.”
While others talked about shooting, bench play and the challenge of Portland’s guard duo of Oakland native Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, much of Thompson’s time with the media Monday was spent talking about the mental and metaphysical aspects of the game.
For example, he told reporters he was big into visualization.
“Andre Iguodala told me that Tiger Woods visualizes every single shot he shoots on 18 holes on the golf course, so if he can do that that’s incredible,” he said. “I try to do the same, approach the basketball, just try to visualize getting to my spots, what my opponent is going to do, so when you come to the game you’ve seen it before.”
But it goes even deeper.
“I still will have bad games every once and a while, but that’s just being human,” he said. “It is something I have incorporated into my routine for this past season. Especially when I was going through that shooting slump earlier in the year. It really helped me. It’s just nice to manifest things. You kind of like speak into existence. Kind of think into existence.”
He said there is no specific place or time for his metaphysical journeys.
“Whenever I have down time,” he said. “It could be in the backyard or it can be when I’m in the driveway. It’s just random.”