The Splash Brothers: How I came up with the famous nickname and how Curry and Thompson feel about it (2024)

The Splash Brothers: How I came up with the famous nickname and how Curry and Thompson feel about it (1)The Splash Brothers: How I came up with the famous nickname and how Curry and Thompson feel about it (2)

By Special to The Athletic

Oct. 12, 2017

The Splash Brothers: How I came up with the famous nickname and how Curry and Thompson feel about it (3)

By Brian Witt

It’s an interesting feeling knowing that the thing you’ll be best known for doing is something you’ve already done. I speak from personal experience. Several years ago, in the midst of fortuitous circ*mstances, I came up with one of the great nicknames in NBA history, and my life hasn’t been the same ever since.


I have a very cool job. As a Digital Content Producer for the Warriors, my main role is to provide written content for the team’s website, I’m at all the games and practices, I get access to some of the most famous athletes of our lifetime and perhaps best of all, get to do so while covering the team I grew up following. My years of stealing the television remote and forcing my father and brothers to watch the games during the Warriors’ leanest years ultimately served a purpose. And trust me, they don’t miss a game now.

I joined the Warriors organization back in May of 2012, just prior to the NBA Draft that brought Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green to the franchise. It was an exciting time, sure, but by no means was the current state of the franchise readily visible on the horizon. It was a young team in the midst of a multi-year transformation, but at the center of the core were two dynamic guards in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Going into that next season — my first with the franchise — Curry and Thompson were certainly promising young players with a lot of potential, but not the established all-world superstars they are today.

That was before they became the Splash Brothers.

It was December 2012, and All-Star voting had recently begun. As part of the organization’s marketing department, it was our directive to come up with creative ways to get our players votes. At the time, the last Warrior to make the All-Star team was Latrell Sprewell back in 1997. Talk about a drought. So, how do you get non-stars from a fringe playoff team All-Star votes in the West? I turned back the clock.

I was born and raised in the South Bay, and as a kid, my sports allegiances were not restricted to one side of the Bay or the other. San Francisco and Oakland were essentially equidistant from where I grew up, so all the local teams were on the table. My father, however, was a Red Sox lifer, and anytime the Sox came to Oakland, we’d make the trip to Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum to catch a game. That was around the time when I really began to get into the history of Bay Area baseball, and specifically the illustrious home run hitters that were a part of it. Simply put, I dug the long ball. Nearly 20 years later, that love of the long ball helped inspire my little claim to fame.


As I racked my brain to come up with clever marketing campaigns to get our players votes, I had an epiphany. At the time, nobody on the team was high profile enough to get adequately recognized as an individual. But perhaps a package deal approach could prove successful. It had to make sense, though.

And then, one day, it clicked.

What was the one major aspect of the Warriors’ roster that was not only unique to them, but also deserving of increased hype and attention? They had a young backcourt duo comprised of two of the silkiest, sweetest-shooting guards the game had ever seen.

There. This is it. This is how I’m going to get our players votes, I thought. I just had to put it all together. But how? Perhaps there was another famous pair of Bay Area athletes, tied together by a common skill, that I could draw upon for inspiration.

Then the epiphanies started coming in waves.

My mind shifted into Bay Area sports history gear, and I immediately thought of a famous poster I recalled from my childhood. I could see it as clear as day. Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, sitting atop a police car while holding giant wooden bats. At the bottom of the poster, three words: The Bash Brothers.

This was perfect. In the same city – literally the same parking lot – where the Bash Brothers became famous for their home run hitting prowess, so, too, were Curry and Thompson making a name for themselves for their shooting ability. From there, “bash” quickly transformed into “splash” – a common pick-up basketball term for a made perimeter shot – and the concept of the Splash Brothers was born.

Then on Dec. 21, 2012, concept became reality. I was operating the team’s Twitter account during a game in Charlotte, which saw Curry and Thompson combine to go 7 of 11 from 3-point range in the first half. At halftime, I tweeted out the score, followed by their stat lines and the very first instance of the Splash Brothers hashtag. Little did I know at the time that that hashtag would become the most famous thing I’d ever do.

Halftime: Warriors 58 – Bobcats 49. @StephenCurry30 & Klay Thompson are a combined 7-of-11 from 3 point range #SplashBrothers

— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) December 22, 2012

The timing could not have been more perfect. Over the next two months, Curry went on a tear, rapidly ascending the levels of NBA superstardom to the point that many expected him to be voted in as an All-Star reserve by the coaches. But, despite Curry’s efforts, the Warriors went into the All-Star break riding a season-long five-game losing streak, and in the West that can prove all the difference. As it turned out, David Lee made the All-Star team as a reserve, while Curry did not. I argue, though, that might have been one of the best things to ever happen to him (and the Warriors).


Seven games into the post-All-Star break portion of the schedule, Curry dropped 54 points against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden, in what will forever be known as his coming out party to the rest of the league. Two months later, Curry set the NBA regular-season 3-point record (which he’s topped three times since) in the 82nd game, before leading the Warriors to their first playoff berth since “We Believe.”

Curry then ascended to superstar status in the Warriors’ first-round upset of the Denver Nuggets, before he and Thompson had the Spurs on the ropes in the second round. Obviously, the young Warriors would eventually be eliminated by San Antonio in six games, but the damage had been done. The Splash Brothers were a thing, and they weren’t going away anytime soon.

In the years that have passed since, I’ve been lucky enough to watch my little creation balloon into something far beyond what I ever expected. I never thought the Splash Brothers moniker would catch on in the way that it did, and I certainly didn’t think Curry and Thompson would continue to be called by it to this day.

As a basketball fan, they are two of the most scintillating players I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Their dedication to their craft is unparalleled and has everything to do with why they are the world-class shooters they are today. In my mind, they’re the two best shooters who have ever played the game. You should see what they do in practice sometimes. Seriously, it boggles the mind.

To have watched them not only live up to the nickname but also embrace it has been one of the highlights of my career in professional sports. Klay has gone out of his way to personally thank me for it, to which I had the kind of reaction you might expect. After all, I just come up with the nicknames. They’re the ones doing all the hard work.

Then there was the night in Oklahoma City following a postseason loss to the Thunder during the 2016 playoffs. Following the game, the team went to a nearby steakhouse for dinner during the wee hours of the morning. Curry, as usual, had his fair share of fans waiting for him outside the restaurant following dinner, and he, a co-worker and myself ended up taking a separate bus back to the hotel. It was at that time that Steph asked for the whole backstory on the Splash Brothers nickname. Not the quick overview; he wanted to know all of it. To think, the first-ever unanimous MVP, hours after losing a crucial playoff game, wanted to know about me and my story. Pretty special guy, if you ask me.

You never know what is going to catch on. For me, it was a nickname of two of the greatest shooters that have ever lived. Perhaps one day I’ll come up with another nickname on a social platform that doesn’t even exist yet. Or perhaps lightning won’t strike twice, and this is the only claim to fame I’ll ever have. No matter to me. It’s been a fun ride, and it’s just about to get going again.

(Top photo: Elsa/Getty Images)

The Splash Brothers: How I came up with the famous nickname and how Curry and Thompson feel about it (2024)
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