For years, it’s been a foregone conclusion that Draymond Green would end up on Inside The NBA, the league’s flagship show on TNT, once his playing days were done. TNT and Draymond decided, why wait for retirement? They agreed on a multi-year deal this week to feature Green on Turner Sports programs, even while he’s an active player. He made his official debut last night after the Golden State Warriors-Minnesota Timberwolves game, wearing a Ron Burgundy-esque turtleneck.
The deal will have Draymond appearing on Inside both remotely and in person, plus future participation in other Turner and Bleacher Report endeavors. With TNT spreading out to Tuesday nights, there’s plenty of room at the big desks. Shaquille O’Neal has a reality show called “Shaq Life,” and TNT produced a four-part series featuring Barkley called Race In America. Throw in their online properties and the seemingly endless appetite for NBA content, and Draymond should have opportunities galore.
Green got stellar reviews while working for Turner during the 2020 playoffs, the first year of his career that Draymond wasn’t in the playoffs himself. But his first experiences with Inside The NBA were more contentious, trading barbs with Charles Barkley for years. Chuck was a constant skeptic of the Warriors early on, repeatedly stating that a “jump-shooting team” couldn’t win a title. He also said he wanted to punch Draymond in the face, referred to his “triple-single” stat lines, said he had “a face for radio,” and called him “the least famous member of a boy band.”
For Draymond’s part, he fired back at press conferences, and once threatened to take Barkley’s job. But once they met in person, they started getting along great.
In fact, when Draymond became a regular member of TNT’s team during the 2020 playoffs, Ernie Johnson asked if Green and Barkley’s friendship had become “a little annoying.” But it wasn’t just jokes on the set. Green was fantastic at breaking down plays, talking about things fans don’t necessarily notice, like screen-setting, or how players make split-second decisions while defending the basket. It’s not just his basketball smarts; Green is extremely good at explaining basketball in a concise, digestible, and entertaining manner, one reason Johnson said Green was the most “naturally good” at broadcasting of any athlete he’d worked with since Kenny Smith teamed up with him over 30 years ago.
Green sees himself less as a Barkley, and more like a Tony Romo. Like in this sequence, where he breaks down the LA Clippers’ defense on Damian Lillard in the bubble.
Meanwhile. This sort of analysis is excellent pic.twitter.com/nY1vEj10qr— sam esfandiari (@samesfandiari) August 9, 2020
While players have often worked as broadcasters after their teams were eliminated - Rick Barry would call games while still an active player - this move is fairly unprecedented. But if there was ever a can’t-miss broadcasting choice, it would be Draymond. This is like being able to draft LeBron James when he was a high school freshman: You have to wait a little while to reap the full rewards, but when you get a chance to lock up a potential all-time great, you do it.
There’s only one question left: Will Draymond finally be allowed to use the GUARANTEE button?