The sports media often criticize today’s NBA players for being too soft and sensitive, but one player they cannot accuse of is Golden State Warriors Forward and three-time NBA champion Draymond Green. Dray made a career out of being a tough defender and excellent playmaker on the court while being a vocal leader who does not mince words when he is not on the floor, dropping dimes, and getting stops. However, Green’s play is declining, and he received much criticism for the decline in his offensive performances over the past few years. Green does not let this get in the way of how he approaches the game, and he is always willing to battle it out on the floor or with words while on the air or on social media.
The most recent display of Dray’s passionate outbursts came after Team USA won the Olympic Basketball Gold Medal in Tokyo 2020. After the team lost its opening game against Team France, on the back of several lost exhibition games in the United States, the sports media world piled on and kicked off the ridicule of this edition of Team USA basketball. We all know how the story ended, though, with Team USA getting its revenge against France in the gold medal game. Green then had some choice words for the people who doubted Team USA after their rough start. Read more about the incident HERE.
In Dray’s guesting on Carmelo Anthony‘s podcast called “Whats in Your Glass?” the Warriors forward elaborated on why he chooses to engage on social media and ultimately call the press out when they are the perpetrators of slander and negativity targetted at NBA players.
“I like calling people out when they say something wrong because no one holds them accountable.”Draymond Green, via What’s in Your Glass with Carmelo Anthony
While I understand where Dray is coming from, this is not entirely true. If he refers to the pundits who go on air and debate basketball on TV, then it is fair to say that when these guys criticize and say negative things about a player or team, they are just doing their job. Sports shows are produced in such a way to spark debate, which means that one or two speakers will be on one side of the issue and the rest will be on the other, and that’s what makes the show interesting. Whether they genuinely believe what they are saying is another story, but while it’s unfair for the players to be criticized for almost every little wrong thing that they do or say, there is almost always someone on their side in every show.
“As someone who is beginning to dabble in this space, when a player does something wrong, they (the media) can say whatever they want. No one calls them out, but when they’re wrong and we say something, they just say we are sensitive and cannot handle it.”Draymond Green, via What’s in Your Glass with Carmelo Anthony
As Draymond begins to appear on TV to debate basketball more often these days, he will soon learn that this dynamic of agreeing and disagreeing is just inherent in every sports news show. The good part is that Draymond is the type of guy to take the players’ side in almost every situation, which is honestly very fun to watch and will prove beneficial to the TV networks that bring him on board from here on out.
I can see Green becoming the next Charles Barkley of NBA-related shows, with the same no-BS type of approach sprinkled with that greater sense of brotherhood with today’s NBA players. The issue right now is that almost every NBA player that appears on TV is someone who has been away from the game for so long, and it’s evident that their role is to continue to call this generation soft and entitled as they make a case for why the NBA was better back then. Draymond is close to guys like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, two of the most heavily criticized superstars in NBA history. James and Durant ushered in the era of player empowerment, where superstars and agents use their skill to generate influence and power, giving them control over their working environment and ultimately of their respective legacies.
LeBron and KD have more power than guys like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant could only dream of, being able to choose where they play and recruit players to take less money to come and play with them. James and Durant also generate positive results with their influence in the decisions that franchises make. Still, former NBA players who serve as NBA analysts do everything they can to dilute the accomplishments of these two stars when they have no idea what it’s like to play in today’s game. Check out this piece on Shaquille O’Neal, for example.
Draymond Green understands the pulse of the NBA and its current players, and his fearless approach to debate is something that could stand to benefit the league soon. The NBA is already loved this much around the world with the majority of its media trying to discount the achievements of its stars. By speaking negatively about guys like LeBron and KD, they’re trying to bring the conversation back to “the good old days” of the NBA. How much would the league’s fanbase grow with more affirmation of today’s stars by the media? Green understands the psyche of guys like Bron and KD. Therefore he can help us understand their side of the story more and perhaps get the fans to show their appreciation more often instead of bringing all this hate.
As NBA-related shows continue to struggle to break out of their shell in terms of ratings and popularity, perhaps it is time to look at its most fundamental element, casting. If guys want to spread all this negativity and hate for NBA players’ personal and professional decisions, they are entitled to that. However, it might be worth looking at if these same personalities and the dialogue prevent the business and the league from reaching new levels of popularity. More often than not, the haters are always the louder voices in the room when on TV. Perhaps Draymond’s point-of-view is more than just a rant, but him calling out networks to be better so that the league can be better.