The Shady Side Of Draymond Green

There's no doubt Draymond Green is one heck of a basketball player. During his four-year career at Michigan State, the Saginaw, Michigan native helped the hometown Spartans to three Big Ten titles and an appearance in the National Championship Game as a freshman in 2009. He recalled the 2009 NCAA Tournament run in an essay for The Players' Tribune as the moment "when [he] knew I had it in [him] to be great." He had a squeaky-clean image and was being touted as a potential National Player of the Year.

Green was drafted 35th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, and quickly became an instrumental piece in building the Golden State Warriors' dynasty. His NBA resume includes multiple All-Star selections and All-NBA Defensive honors. Since going pro, Green has produced memorable moments on the court and emerged as a fun-loving personality with a microphone in his hands. On numerous occasions, however, a seemingly shadier side has emerged. His misdeeds have gone beyond just childish antics, like when trash-talking with Tristan Thompson appeared innocent enough until it led to a scuffle in a club weeks later. But that's just the beginning. 

His skill on the basketball court is unquestioned, but let's look at some of the shadier things Draymond Green has done.

Draymond Green's trash talking goes beyond the court

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers made it to the NBA Finals for four straight years from 2015 to 2018, and the animosity between Tristan Thompson and Draymond Green finally exploded in 2018. At the conclusion of Game 1, Green clapped in Thompson's face after the Cavs' big man was ejected in the final seconds. Thompson promptly responded with a basketball to Green's face and a challenge to meet him outside. "I can meet him in the streets any day," Green said afterward.

Aside from a quick scuffle in Game 3 that led to a technical foul on each, cooler heads prevailed as the Warriors rolled to a four-game sweep and their third title in four years. During the post-game handshakes, Green tossed a little fuel on the fire, refusing to shake Thompson's hand. "There's a lot of guys in this league, they soft. We just cut from a different cloth. ... I told one of them dudes from the Cavs after the game, he tried to shake my hand. I said, 'Tristan, we ain't cut the same,'" Green told NBC Sports during the Warriors' championship parade (via USA Today).

Less than a month later, the two were at an ESPYs after party, where Thompson took Green up on his offer from after Game 1. Reports detailed anything from Thompson sucker-punching Green, to more of a face-mush. While neither player detailed exactly what happened, it's clear these two had some unresolved issues.

Just for kicks

During the 2016 NBA playoffs, Draymond Green gave a whole new meaning to the term "kicked-ball violation." He not once, but twice, nestled his size 15 into the poor, unsuspecting groin of Steven Adams. The Oklahoma City Thunder center stood his ground as Green drove the lane in Game 2, and then crumpled to that same ground as Green followed through and kneed the 7-foot New Zealander straight in the kiwis.

While that shot could have been passed off as an accident, a similar incident in Game 3 put it in a much shadier light. Adams was again defending the basket against a driving Green, and prevented him from getting off a quality shot. On the follow through, Green's foot found its way to Adams' groin like a heat-seeking missile. Not surprisingly, Green denied he had any intention of catching Adams in the jewels, claiming he was just trying to draw a foul.

"You know, there's multiple plays where — I did it later in the game — where I got fouled and my right leg went up. I always do it," Green said of the incident. Adams, who said he considered wearing a cup for the remainder of the series, disagreed. "I mean, it happened before, mate," he told ESPN. "He's pretty accurate, that guy." While this behavior may not be shady, it certainly shows a ... testy side to Green.

Kicks 2.0: The non-groin edition

Draymond Green's kicky behavior didn't stop with Steven Adams. In fact, his feet seem to have a penchant for running into some of the game's top stars. While most of these plays may seem inadvertent by themselves, taken as a group, a seemingly shady pattern emerges. For example, just weeks after his destruction of Adams' apples, Green moved a little north, karate kicking Cleveland's Kyrie Irving in the chest during Game 1 of the finals. "Tone what down? You think I tried to kick Kyrie? If I was aware of something, I wouldn't do it," Green told reporters (per Sports Illustrated).

Six months later, the Phoenix Suns' Marquese Chriss dislocated his pinkie after a Green kick to the backside. "You don't have to kick your leg up in the air as frequently as it's happening. It's just something that needs to be addressed," Chriss told the Arizona Republic.

San Antonio's Danny Green scored a small measure of revenge in March of 2018, catching Draymond with a knee to the junk. "If it had been me, y'all would've said I did it on purpose," Draymond said after the game.

Why let your feet have all the fun?

Historically, the punishment for punching an actual king in the groin would be death. Fortunately for Draymond Green, his knuckles finding basketball royalty LeBron James' crotch in the 2016 NBA Finals only earned him a one-game suspension. The two came together as Green tried setting a screen for Steph Curry in Game 4, scuffling before Green ended up on the court. As James stepped over Green, the Warriors forward delivered a quick right to James' forbidden speed bag.

The punch was ruled a flagrant foul, and combined with the kick to Adams a few weeks before, garnered a one-game suspension. "As a competitor, I love going against Draymond, and I'm all about going out there and leaving it on the floor. But when it gets a little bit more than what it should be, that's what caused me to have words with him," James said after the game.

While his actions didn't earn him any fans in Cleveland, many came to Green's defense, including TNT analyst and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, who said Green had a "moral obligation" to punch James for stepping over him. "Because that's really disrespectful to step over a guy. You're supposed to pop him in his junk if he steps over you like that. That's a perfectly fine response if a guy does that," Barkley said on Bleacher Report Radio, per CBS Sports.

Isn't that what Snapchat is for?

Like most athletes of his generation, Draymond Green uses social media as a tool to expand his brand. Unfortunately, he accidentally broadcast a picture of his own tool for all his followers to see. Green's broadcasting of Lil' Draymond over the internet was the culmination of a rough few months for the basketball star, even if most of it was self-inflicted. His team blew a 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, during which he was suspended for the aforementioned knuckles-to-the-undercarriage of LeBron James.

While he initially claimed he was hacked, Green fessed up to the mistake. "It was a situation where it was meant to be a private message," Green told ESPN. "I kinda hit the wrong button and it sucks. It was meant to be private. We're all one click away from placing something in the wrong place, and I suffered from that this morning."

The embarrassment, including some heavy teasing from his Team USA teammates, was short-lived. "I'm not going to sit here and throw myself a pity party and say I can't catch a break. I'm fine. I get to joke around with these guys all day and get to do what I love for my country. I'm fine. I'm fine," Green said after the incident, per ABC News.

Draymond Green's coach had to write him a love letter

Draymond Green and the Warriors' head coach Steve Kerr have both played major roles in Golden State ascending to dynasty status. Their relationship, however, nearly derailed the team's run after just one championship. During halftime in a 2016 game in Oklahoma City, Green was heard screaming at Kerr in the locker room. "I'm standing outside the locker room with the Oklahoma City police, which are always stationed outside of every locker room," ESPN's Lisa Salters would later recall. "They kind of moved me aside, and the officer just kind of stood by the door, with his hand on his weapon like he was trying to determine what he should do. It was clear that something bad was about to happen in this locker room. We've never heard anything like this before." 

Fortunately for fans of the Warriors, cooler heads prevailed and the two were able to mend fences. "That was by far the worst day of our relationship," Green later said. "That day will end up being the best day we've ever had."

A year after that incident, Kerr officially buried the hatchet with Green by writing a note. "That first sentence told me everything that I needed to know," Green said of the missive from Kerr. According to Bleacher Report, that transformative opening line translated to: "I love you and respect you. I know you're hurting. We need to talk."  

Draymond Green and KD's beef

Draymond Green and Kevin Durant have had an up-and-down relationship since Durant joined the Warriors in 2016. The two have celebrated multiple championships together, but have also had a series of altercations that nearly came to blows.

Green had chastised Durant in the past for not sharing the ball, but the tension exploded in November 2018 during a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Durant screamed at Green to "pass the damn ball," which sent Green into a rage on the sideline. He allegedly responded by saying to Durant: "You're a b***h and you know you're a b***h," according sources speaking with Yahoo! Sports. Green supposedly followed with, "We don't need you. We won without you. Leave."

The incident carried over to the locker room and earned Green a one-game suspension for "conduct detrimental to the team." However, Green claimed the altercation was good for the team, and for his relationship with Durant. "My deepest relationships that I have is, like, with people that I went through s**t with. It could've been a bad argument. It could've been ready to go to blows. ... You come out on the other side and y'all are tighter and better for it. Those are the special relationships," he told the New York Post.

One more kick for good measure

For this kick, Draymond Green summoned his inner WWE superstar, giving the Houston Rockets' James Harden a nice boot to the beard at the end of 2016. In the waning seconds of a double-overtime loss to the Rockets, Green snagged an offensive rebound and went up strong to the basket. Harden fouled Green on the way up, but once again, Green's follow through put the sole of his sneaker straight into Harden's grill.

Green would earn a flagrant foul once again for the sins of his feet. "It was the elbow that got me first," Harden said, before throwing a little shade at Green, who is a spokesman for Smile Direct Club. "Luckily, I have this Invisalign to protect me."

The incident was apparently the last straw for the NBA, as well. "Now all of a sudden legs are coming out in different directions at weird times, they're coming higher," Joe Borgia, vice president of replay and referee operations, said (via CBS Sports). "Well, for the protection of the players, we're going to stop it."

Laughing at Fergie draws Duhamel's ire

While most of Draymond Green's antics have occurred during games, the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles offered the opportunity to cause a commotion before the ball touched the court. During Fergie's infamous rendition of the National Anthem, which the New York Post dubbed "a bizarre trainwreck," cameras picked up Green and other players snickering at the performance.

That smile quickly drew the ire of Fergie's ex-husband, actor Josh Duhamel, who singled out Green for his shady behavior. "I was pissed off at Draymond Green, first of all. I think he owed her an apology. I thought he was kind of a p***k," he told FS1's "Fair Game" (via NBC Sports). The Warriors responded to Duhamel's call for an apology by posting a video of them dancing to a remix of Fergie's Anthem in the locker room after a win.

Duhamel took it in stride and with a good sense of humor, posting on Twitter: "Note to self: Think twice before you call out the champs. Well played," with the hashtag "#sorryferg." For his part, Green responded to the tweet saying he meant no disrespect toward Duhamel's ex, and the beef was over.

There is some awkward animus between these alums

While Draymond Green's shadier behavior would mostly be considered childish, his antics spilled over into a legal matter in 2017 and turned from shady to downright dark. Green was charged with misdemeanor assault following an alleged altercation outside an East Lansing restaurant, during which police observed him slap Michigan State football player Jermaine Edmondson.

According to Edmondson, the incident reportedly began the night before, when Green bumped into Edmondson. "I asked who he was to think that it's okay to bump into somebody without saying excuse me," Edmondson said, according to a police statement (via ESPN). "[Green] then said, 'I pay for n****s like you scholarships.' Then I started to say you have me messed up before I was choked out by two guys who were with him." The next night, things turned ugly, Edmondson claimed. "As I started to talk again, boom, I'm punched in the jaw, in front of all my friends and peers," he said after confronting Green about the previous night's apparent events. Green denied the situation was anything more than a slap. His lawyer downplayed the incident even further, telling ESPN, "There was no criminology found. ... All of the witnesses say Draymond didn't do anything." Green reached a deal to "plead responsible to a noise ordinance," and paid a $560 fine.

Edmondson later filed a civil lawsuit, of which Green's legal team told TMZ Sports, "Draymond looks forward to defending himself and clearing up the misinformation put forth today." As of this writing, it's unclear whether this legal matter has been resolved.

Draymond Green's victory lap against Jaylen Brown

The 2022 NBA Finals featured an exciting match-up between the Golden State Warriors dynasty and the young and hungry Boston Celtics. During the six-game series, things got chippy between the two teams, and it perhaps wasn't too surprising to see Draymond Green at the center of it all. During Game 2, Green and Jaylen Brown had a tense back-and-forth that ended with referees needing to separate the two. 

In a post-game interview, Brown called Green out for trying to pull his shorts down and described his antics as "try[ing] to muck the game up." Shortly after being crowned the champs, Green went on a victory lap in the media that consisted of trolling Boston fans and Celtics players alike. During an appearance on "The Old Man and Three Podcast," Green said, "When Jaylen Brown went in the media and said, 'He tried and pulled my shorts down,' I knew I took his heart." Green also took exception to Brown telling the media that the Warriors were not a team they were afraid of, adding, "I knew at that point. I'm like, 'Yup, this is baby food and this is over, and we're gonna walk on out of here with a championship.'"

Things didn't exactly simmered down between the two. In late June 2022, Brown took to Twitter and responded to Green's comments, writing alongside a corn emoji, "You can say whatever win you win ... Draymond got a Podcast and lost his dam [sic] mind ... you could never."

The NBA star continued to throw shade at Kevin Durant

Former Warriors teammates Kevin Durant and Draymond Green's relationship turned sour after their infamous mid-game argument in 2018. That heated and very public moment — in which, as previously mentioned, Green supposedly told his teammate (via NBC Sports), "We don't need you!" — was confirmed by both as the reason for Durant eventually leaving the team. Though the two players have been cordial since then, they've still had plenty of public disagreements. 

During the Warriors' road to the 2022 NBA Finals, Greens' praise for teammate Steph Curry came with some slight shade thrown toward Durant — and the duo had a public back-and-forth on Twitter that May after Green claimed Curry was double-teamed seven times more than Durant. Not one to shy away from drama in the Twittersphere himself, Durant then responded to a fan and called Green's statement "100% false." Green tweeted back, "​​You have to learn to listen to full takes and not snippets before you get baited into tweeting Champ."

Green later doubled down on those claims after Game 2 of the finals against the Boston Celtics that June. He once again praised Curry's vital role as the leader of the team and the focus of the Warriors' offense, saying in a post-game interview, "When KD was here, our offense still started with Steph. And that's the way it's going to be."

Draymond Green's podcast had people questioning his focus

After three admittedly less-than-stellar performances in the 2022 NBA Finals, reporters began questioning Draymond Green's level of focus. The NBA player, who is one of few basketball stars with a podcast, aptly called "The Draymond Green Show," was even asked about how podcasting during the finals had affected his game. During one post-game interview, when a reporter questioned if he was being too in-depth about the Golden State Warriors' game plan on his show, thus potentially helping the opponent, Green accused them of "reaching" and denied that he was giving up any important information. "I don't say much different on the podcast than I say to you right here. So, nah," Green told him, before pushing back with, "What's the Xs and Os that I said on the podcast?"

The resulting exchange was a bit tense, to say the least, and former NBA champion Isiah Thomas also chimed into the public conversation, as he wasn't keen on Green podcasting during the NBA finals either. "Right now, [Green] has lost focus in terms of concentrating on beating the opponent," the basketball analyst said after the Warriors lost Game 3. During this time, anonymous NBA coaches hinted to Bleacher Report that it's not exactly uncommon for other teams' staff to listen to player interviews and podcasts to see whether it's necessary to alter their strategy. 

However, even with all the pushback, Green didn't back away from his show: The newly crowned champion recorded a special episode with his teammates right after the Warriors' Game 6 victory in the NBA Finals.

He threatened to take Charles Barkley's job

In 2018, Draymond Green reacted just as you might expect him to after Charles Barkley went on national television and said he wanted to punch him in the face while commenting on the Warriors player's on-court scuffle with Rajan Rondo. "He's seen me a million times, if you feel that strongly about it, then punch me in my face when you see me," Green told reporters in response. "If you're not going to punch me in the face when you see me, then shut up." 

It wasn't long before the TNT commentator came back with an apology to smooth things over. "I wasn't literally going to fight an NBA player, and if he took it like that, I want to apologize," Barkley told ESPN Radio Chicago (via The Washington Post). "Just because I said something that I shouldn't have said, I want to be man enough to apologize. I was 100 percent wrong." But in 2020, after Barkley criticized Green's game again, the NBA star questioned his accomplishments as a former athlete and a sports commentator, telling reporters, "I [have] a tendency to end people, so he should stop before I take his job. If he keeps talking, I'll take it soon. ... So yeah, he probably should be quiet. He also can't talk basketball with me either. Not smart enough, not qualified, no rings — can't sit at this table." 

With this level of trash-talking, you'd think these two can't stand each other, but their playful on-air interviews during the 2022 playoffs showed more of a love-hate relationship.

Draymond Green took things too far with Kendrick Perkins

As Kendrick Perkins moved on from being an NBA player to becoming a media personality, Draymond Green became a player he tended to openly criticized. The two had exchanged words in the media before, but one exchange in June 2022 may have gone too far. During an appearance on JJ Redick's "The Old Man and Three Podcast," Perkins spoke about how difficult it was competing against LeBron James for years. He even revealed that, during the 2008 playoffs, he secretly prayed for James to suffer an injury. Yikes.

The interview clip went so viral that Green eventually discussed it on his own podcast. Putting Perkins on blast, Green started off his rant by questioning Perkins' basketball commentary before throwing out more personal and racial insults. He addressed Perkins directly and compared him to infamous sports commentator Skip Bayless. "Kendrick Perkins, you act like this clown [Skip Bayless] and it's baffling to me — he could never be you," Green said, adding, "You don't have to act like that, my man. ... You go from being enforcer to c**n, how does that happen? At least you acted like an enforcer — I didn't really ever take you for one."

In a since-deleted video, Perkins angrily responded to Green's racial slur and called him disrespectful. Green then issued an apology on his podcast to listeners and peers who were offended — but one person not name-dropped in the apology was Perkins himself. As of this writing, it looks like the two are still at odds.