Draymond Green: the NBA’s Opinionated Lightning Rod

When we think of contentious basketball players, one name stands out: Draymond Green. His feisty toughness, unconventional defensive techniques, and lively spirit all fuel the current animosity towards him. However, it is worth noting that people may admire and enjoy his unrestrained and arguably-deplorable play style. Whatever the case may be, there is no doubt that he defies the status quo of modern-day basketball.

Recently, the Golden State Warriors Power Forward was involved in a scandal that earned him an ejection and a one-game suspension. The play involved Green stepping on Sacramento Kings player Domantas Sabonis’ chest, then lifting off, and even clicking his heels midair. Sabonis did grab Green’s leg first, causing Green to become imbalanced and fearful of injury. From all camera angles, it is very plausible this could have provoked him to retaliate. 

Among pundits, there is a polarizing divide between who is right and wrong. For instance, SHAQ, on TNT, stated, “I would have done the same thing… I really would. Don’t be grabbing me.” 

Conversely, many Kings fans argue that, even though Sabonis initiated the dispute, Green was too rough. Clips of other stars reacting much more gently when grabbed by the leg certainly don’t help Green’s case.

Additionally, the merit of a suspension for this controversy is hotly debated. Stephen A. Smith, one of the most-watched sports analysts, claimed it was “disgusting” and berated the NBA.

In my opinion, the suspension was not warranted: ejection was enough. Yes, it was a dirty play. Green should have taken the moral high ground and never retaliated physically. But a suspension is too severe given that Sabonis did play a big role in antagonizing Green and the game took place under the pressure of the playoffs. It is also worth noting Sabonis was involved in many questionable plays before this incident.  

Regardless of your view, overcoming the 2-0 deficit in their series against the Kings surely demanded a harder fight from the Warriors when left without their star defender.