Klay Thompson recalls plunking Kevin Love as kids on Oregon baseball diamond

It’s a well-known tidbit that Warriors star Klay Thompson and Cavs forward Kevin Love were childhood pals growing up in Oregon and played on the same Little League team.

Warriors fans didn’t know until this week, though, that Thompson could see the future and preemptively took it out on Love as a child.

During the Warriors’ recent visit to Portland for a preseason game against the Blazers, Thompson took a trip to his old stomping grounds, Riverdale Grade School, and a Warriors film crew tagged along.

After saying hello to a gym class and showing off his shooting skills, Thompson moved to the baseball diamond.

“I faced Kevin Love here,” Thompson recalled to the camera crew while sitting in the dugout. “I was pitching, he was batting. I beaned him right in the back.

“Knew he was going to be a Cav.”

Thompson and the Warriors developed quite a cross-conference rivalry with Love and the Cavaliers over four consecutive NBA Finals matchups from 2015-2018. The Warriors went 3-1 in those series before LeBron James left for the Lakers and the Cavs fell to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

What’s unclear, though, is whether this intentional message sent from one future All-Star to another was during practice while they were still on the same youth team, or in the heat of a game after they split.

Thompson, who is a year and a half younger than Love, moved to Orange County and attended high school at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. Love stayed in the Portland area for his prep career and starred at Lake Oswego High, where he became the Gatorade National Male Athlete of the Year before heading to UCLA.

Love is still in Cleveland and may have his shot at revenge on Thompson — for the Finals losses and the plunking — on Jan. 9, when the Cavs come to the Bay Area. The teams meet next month, too, but Thompson won’t be back in the lineup by then as he rehabs his Achilles injury. He could be on the floor in the new year.

For the full background on the Thompson-Love diamond days, read former Bay Area News Group writer Daniel Brown’s story from the 2016 Finals.

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