Fake Klay Thompson Should Be Celebrated by Warriors, Not Banned for Life
Big news in the Bay Area. The Golden State Warriors are NBA world champions for the fourth time in eight years. Congratulations, champs. It's an awesome accomplishment for one of the best-run organizations in sports.
But this isn't about that. This is about the Warriors banning the Fake Klay Thompson from the Chase Center for life. The Warriors should be celebrating Fake Klay, not hating on him.
Fake Klay is played in real life by Dawson Gurley, who is also known as YouTube prankster Big Daws and has 8.9 million subscribers on his BigDawsTV YouTube channel. Gurley does resemble the real Warriors sharpshooter, so it's easy to mistake Fake Klay for Real Klay.
That's what happened before Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Finals when Gurley slipped past five layers of security as Fake Klay, then warmed up on the court for 10 minutes before getting kicked out and having to eat the $10,000 ticket he had bought.
This wasn't the first time Fake Klay has made an appearance. Gurley has been impersonating Klay Thompson since the Warriors' title run in 2015.
Steve Kerr used to think Fake Klay was hilarious and once joked in 2017 after seeing him at a Warriors facility, "I turned around and I was like, 'Klay, did you eat a few extra burgers?"
This wasn't the first time Gurley has played basketball as Fake Klay and fooled people, either.
Fake Klay is popular. He has been the topic of national broadcast conversations. When the Real Klay was battling back from knee surgery, the ESPN NBA crew wanted Fake Klay to be there, too.
Even the Warriors organization used to like Fake Klay. A few year ago, the team tweeted a picture of Fake Klay from the official team Twitter account (the one with the blue check and everything), tagging the Real Klay and DawsTV (aka Dawson Gurley, aka Fake Klay).
But Dawson Gurley is more than just one of the good guys on the internet. He's more than just a merry prankster. He's one of the good guys in real life. He gives back. He is a connector and brings people together. He has brightened many people's days and will continue to do so. That's his mission.
"I am just passionate about making people laugh and trying to do what I can to bring positivity into a world where there’s so much negative things going on," Gurley said in a 2017 Bleacher Report story titled "Meet the Prankster-Turned-Baller Behind the Fake Klay Disguise."
I first learned of Gurley and BigDawsTV a few years ago, and I've been a fan ever since.
The Warriors shouldn't ban Fake Klay. They should hire him. Real Klay shouldn't be mad at Fake Klay. He should welcome the imitation. It is the sincerest form of flattery, after all.
Let Fake Klay play Real Klay in a game of HORSE. Organize some pro-am celebrity charity games. Go on a basketball world tour. Sell tickets. Donate the proceeds to a charity that could put the money to good use.
Bring together Fake Klay with some Bay Area rappers (E-40, Too Short) and some other Southern California legends (B-Real, Ice Cube, DJ Muggs), drop some beats, and create a West Coast collaboration album. Donate the proceeds to a good cause or causes.
Have Fake Klay be part of the Warriors community team. Let him entertain during halftime shows, and be part of meet and greets on the streets. You could ask Fake Klay to volunteer in the community and encourage people to join him.
Let him talk to team security and share his perspective from the "sneak-in" side, so they know what to look for and how to tighten up security in the future. Do some viral videos for YouTube. He has experience. His videos get millions and millions of views. He must be doing something right. Think outside the box about how a creative collaboration could work.
Now more than ever, the world needs feel-good stories and feel-good people. We need more random acts of kindness. Lifting the ban on Fake Klay would make people happy and send an unexpected message of benevolence. So would lifting the suspension on the security guard. Maybe it could inspire others to be kind. Maybe it would encourage others to be creative and use their creativity for good.
Fake Klay didn't hurt anybody by sneaking into the arena and impersonating an NBA player. No harm, no foul. Hopefully, Real Klay and the Warriors will reflect on this experience and see the opportunity and change their tune about Fake Klay. It might seem insignificant. But little things can make a big difference.
The Warriors are on top of the world. They won't lose many (if any) fans by keeping Fake Klay banned, but imagine how many they could gain by lifting the ban. They have the power to send a powerful positive message of inclusion. Too many people are being banned in society today, literally and figuratively. Too many people are being excluded. Too many people are being left out. Don't keep people down. Lift this underdog up. Remove the us vs. them mentality. There is no us and them in humanity. Just us. That's how we get to justice.
This is bigger than basketball.
We're old enough to remember when the Warriors were the laughingstock of the league, a guaranteed W on the schedule for NBA teams. When the Showtime Lakers played the Warriors in the early 1980s (when I grew up watching NBA basketball in Los Angeles), Chick Hearn was putting games in the refrigerator against the Warriors at tip-off. A road game in Oakland used to be considered an off-day. When the Warriors came to town, garbage time started before many fans had found their seats. Some players at the end of the bench had careers in games against the Warriors. Not career games. Actual careers.
And here's a fun fact: Mychal Thompson, Klay's father, played for five seasons with the Lakers and won two NBA championships with the purple and gold, in 1987 and 1987. Mychal Thompson was one of Chick Hearn's favorite players (see Chick having some fun with Mychal at the 34-second mark of the below video). We are all interconnected.
Fast-forward a couple of decades, and now Klay is celebrating with the trophy, and the Warriors are doing all the laughing. To the bank.
Once Joe Lacob went from Warriors superfan to superowner in 2010, the team found the path back to greatness. Once upon a time, the Golden State Warriors also won the 1975 NBA title, and the Philadelphia Warriors (the original Warriors) won the title in 1956 and 1947, the first year of the NBA, when it was known as the Basketball Association of America, or BAA. They moved west in 1962 and became the San Francisco Warriors, then the Golden State Warriors in 1971.
The Warriors have always been leaders throughout basketball history, but the franchise didn't truly become golden until Lacob, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in Silicon Valley, led an ownership group that paid $450 million for the Warriors. The team is now valued at over $5 billion, and Lacob's 25 percent stake is worth more than $900 million. They are the model for how to run sports teams in the 21st century and build championship dynasties.
They didn't get here by making dumb moves. They did it by making Dub moves. But even a dynasty can make a mistake. And that's what the Warriors are doing by keeping Dawson Gurley banned from the Chase Center for life.
It's time for the Warriors to do the right thing and shock the world again.
Free Fake Klay.
And if not? Life goes on. No hard feelings.