By now, the altercation between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green is old news. It is, to quote Klay Thompson, in the past like a ponytail.
The Golden State Warriors are in first place of the Western Conference, have won seven games in a row, and are playing the best basketball that they’ve played in a long, long time.
What happened between the two stars didn’t disrupt the dynasty, as so many predicted it would. If anything, it’s beginning to look like adversity - and having no choice but to overcome it - made the team that much better.
From the outside looking in, that process wasn’t very apparent. First things were awkward and doomed, then they were just awkward, then they were nothing, and suddenly they were golden. In reality, a lot of work and sacrifice was at the heart of the team turning a barrier into a bridge.
Much certainly remains under wraps, but Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic got to the center of what transpired in the aftermath of the altercation. Rather than a traditional meeting in the middle compromise, the All-Stars took a different approach. Durant was seemingly uninterested in dismissive excuses, and instead challenged Green to channel his emotions in better ways. Green was receptive, and up to the task.
This passage from Thompson was particularly telling:
Durant told Green he wasn’t accepting the emotional excuse. Green’s fire is what makes him great even if it also makes him volatile. But Durant wasn’t buying that it’s uncontrollable. He’s seen Green control it. He’s seen him keep his composure in the crucible of championship stakes. He’s seen him locked in and focused, forcing his emotions to submit to his will.
So Durant challenged him to be better. Green accepted.
It was in this forum, the proper one, where Green explained his free-agency concerns with Durant. And Durant explained himself. He told Green how he could’ve been more communicative but that he is just used to letting his actions speak for him. Durant shows how he feels by his work ethic, how he pours himself into his teammates. He shows he is all-in by being all-in, putting in the time, making sacrifices for the team and playing with all his heart.
It’s hard to read that and not come away with increased respect for both players. There are plenty of opportunities for them to be hurt, unwilling to reconcile, demand a trade, or even just play out the season in bitterness, yet they took the hard route and both got through.
Green, later in the article, is quoted as talking about how the most important and close relationships in his life are with people who will call him out and challenge him to do better.
It would appear, from that info, that Durant and Green are not only beyond the incident, but closer than ever before.