Draymond Green: Comment from Suns’ Kevin Durant helped growth during suspension

Jan 8, 2024, 11:05 AM

Draymond Green, Warriors vs. Suns...

Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts during the second half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center on December 12, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Warriors 119-116. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green said that a comment to reporters from Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant helped him shape his plan for growth during his indefinite suspension that was lifted on Saturday after 12 missed games.

Green was suspended after flailing in a Dec. 12 game against Phoenix and hitting Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face. It was the last of a series of transgressions that forced the NBA to aggressively punish the four-time champion and NBA All-Star.

In a podcast episode of The Draymond Green Show released Monday, Green doubled down on an apology to Nurkic in his first comments since the NBA suspended him.

Green admitted that he discussed retirement with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who talked him out of stepping away for the game and pushed for Green to confront what had caused him to get in on-court incidents with the Suns and others this season.

Green also went in-depth on how he consumed a comment from Durant following the incident.

“That was insane to see,” Durant said after the Nurkic hit. “Never seen that before on a basketball court, an NBA game. I hope Draymond gets the help he needs. It’s been incident after incident. I know Draymond and … he hasn’t been that way since I’ve been around him. Hopefully, he gets the help he needs and gets back on the court and puts all this stuff behind him.”

How did Draymond Green perceive Kevin Durant’s comment?

Green said the quote from his former Warriors teammate from 2016-19 initially “pissed (him) off.”

“As opposed to listening to how these people are saying things, let’s listen to what they’re saying,” Green said on his podcast. “I started going into this deep dive … then it’s like, wait a minute, ‘What do you want the world to know about me?’ So I sat with myself and thought about that. I’m like, interestingly enough, the world still thinks I’m still the same Draymond as I was in 2017. The reality is is I’m not. I’m not even close to the same Draymond that I was in 2017 but I quite frankly have not allowed anyone in the world to see that growth, to see that change.

“If I can look at Kevin’s statement the right way, through the right mindset, the right lens, he’s acknowledging essentially what I want the world to know about me. And then he spoke about help. And I’m like, ‘How the hell he’s going to say I need help?’ And when I went back through it with another lens, I said, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t hear (the word) help so negatively.’ Like, maybe you’re listening to the word help with the same mindset that the word help meant when you were 15 years old … and maybe he’s not saying that as negatively as you’re taking it.’ And even if it was, I made a decision in that moment I wasn’t going to take it that way.”

Green admitted on the podcast that he often walked the line of what is acceptable to do on the court — and he’s crossed it several times. He referenced the Nurkic situation and a chokehold put on Minnesota Timberwolves big man Rudy Gobert weeks earlier that led to the NBA putting him in an indefinite suspension.

Part of meeting the criteria for being reinstated was pursuing growth.

Taking in Durant’s comment and listening to it to improve himself was an important step in Green’s process.

“For me, it was a very proud moment,” the Warriors forward said. “Because I said, ‘You’re ready for growth.'”

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