Draymond Green’s suspension for hitting LeBron James in the groin arguably was the single biggest moment in the 2016 NBA Finals, the event that led to the Cleveland Cavaliers going from down 3-1 to winning a championship.
Whether the move deserved simply a flagrant foul or the suspension it drew was cause for great debate, but here’s what wasn’t: Green needed to clean up his act, be it intentional or simply reckless flailing. That’s especially true now that his Golden State Warriors are back in the Finals, again up 2-0 against James’ Cavaliers.
The first half of that video gets pretty tense. The question probably is fair, but the way the reporter backs into it sets up that kind of rebuttal. This type of interview format doesn’t help, as LeBron James skipping the podium reminded us.
Here’s the full exchange, which also included podium-mate Kevin Durant, transcribed:
Reporter: Draymond, I’m interested in how you’ve been able to restrain yourself emotionally and avoid getting —
Green: You act like I’m this troubled guy who’s always getting in a bunch of trouble and can’t control myself and —
Reporter: You’ve avoided — you’ve avoided going over the line so far, which is —
Durant: You waiting on him to go over the line.
Reporter: No, I’m just interested in how he’s been able to do that.
Green: I’ve just been playing basketball, brother. You got great teammates like I do, who allow me to play with my emotions and allow me to use my emotions when I’m talking to them and to the better for us, it’s easy. So I’m just trying to lead this team as much as I can in the way that I do for this team, without worry about officials too much. At the end of the day, I think everyone talks to officials. I talk to them. But going over the edge isn’t going to win me a championship. I think I’m a pretty smart guy, and I learned my lesson. I went over the edge before. Fool me once, you can’t fool me twice.
The beauty here is that this whole thing ended with a really great quote from Green. That’s why you ask the tough questions, even if a player isn’t happy about it.