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Draymond returns - to feuding with the media

It was a triumphant return for the Warriors’ defensive anchor. Until someone told Draymond about “birthday mode.”

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Washington Wizards v Golden State Warriors
Draymond stands for the national anthem, in happier times.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Draymond Green had a nice return to the Golden State Warriors after missing two-and-a-half months. He came off the bench and reunited with his old pals Klay and Steph. He had a pro-rated triple-double - six points, six assists, and seven rebounds in 20 minutes, and the Warriors outscored the Wizards by 24 points while Green was on the floor. And then, in his post-game press conference, when he wasn’t complimenting trainer Rick Celebrini, Draymond seemed angry and hurt.

He talked about the relationship of the players and the media, how he understood them as a member of the media himself (thanks TNT!), but then Draymond started talking about “integrity.”

What was Draymond upset about? According to Kerith Burke on Dubs Talk Live, Green was upset that a reporter implied that he wasn’t fully committed to his rehab during his time away. Specifically this article about the state of the Warriors by excellent beat writer Anthony Slater, which said in part:

He showed up on the second stop, in Dallas, got in a high-intensity workout and scrimmage, coached them up on the bench against the Mavericks, but then shifted into birthday mode. He spent Friday in Los Angeles celebrating his 32nd birthday and didn’t show up for the Lakers game Saturday.

Steve Kerr said Green was “sick” when asked about Green’s absence Saturday. Instagram can tell you how Green’s Friday night went.

So Draymond didn’t like the “birthday mode” comment, but either to his credit - or to create a puzzle for internet sleuths - he didn’t mention Slater by name. But it’s not the first time Draymond has feuded with a member of the media, and it probably won’t be the last.

Ben Dowsett: Back in 2015, a Jazz beat writer named Ben Dowsett accused Draymond and the Warriors of “disrespecting” the Jazz in their locker room following a victory in Utah.

Dowsett eventually apologized for mistakenly saying that Steph Curry was laughing at the Jazz’s attempts to switch onto him. Draymond shredded him afterward, saying:

I definitely wanted to let him know and I kind of weighed giving him the attention that he wanted which is what he needed, because like he said he’s doing 60 hours for free. Which I think is pretty crazy, and he must be pretty bad at his job to still be doing 60 hours for free.

But his main point was, “Don’t lie.” Dowsett is now writing about the Jazz for pay, and the Jazz are still constantly complaining about being disrespected.

Charles Barkley: Chuck and Draymond are now best buddies and co-workers, but there was a time when they weren’t so buddy-buddy. In fact, Barkley used to criticize the Warriors constantly, with his refrainthat a jump-shooting team couldn’t win an NBA title. But Barkley crossed a line in 2018, when he said, about Draymond, “I want to punch his ass in the face.” Draymond’s response?

“If you feel that strongly about something, he’s seen me a million times. If he feels that strongly about it, then punch me in the face when you see me. If you’re not going to punch me in the face, then shut up!... No one cares what you would have done. You old, and it is what it is.”

Ethan Sherwood Strauss: Strauss penned a profile/critique of Golden State’s “Draymond Green problem” back in 2016 that was typically verbose, and alternately laudatory and critical. But the part that bothered Green was a story about how Draymond tried to drop weight by riding a stationary bike in the sauna. It was an embarrassing detail, albeit a funny one, though Draymond didn’t go after Strauss publicly or on Twitter. That’s a shame, because Strauss got half a book out of Kevin Durant yelling at him during a press conference two years later. Who knows what he could have done with a true Draymond feud?

Kevin Durant: As co-host of Boardroom and The ETCs, Kevin Durant is technically a member of the media! They’re friends again now, but back in 2018 they had a terrible argument at the end of a game against the Clippers and, well, Durant left for the Brooklyn Nets after the season.

Josh Duhamel: Is Duhamel a member of the media? Well in the romance Life As We Know It, Duhamel played a sports director. That counts! Duhamel got upset with Draymond when he visibly laughed during his then-wife Fergie’s rendition of the national anthem at the All-Star Game.

Even though many, many people were laughing, Duhamel blamed Green:

“I was pissed off at Draymond Green first of all. I think her owed her apology. I think he was kind of a prick. Just because he knew the camera was on him and he snickered about it. If he would have been a real man, he would have at least called her and said, ‘Listen, I’m sorry that I caused all this.’”

Did Draymond call Fergie? No he did not. What he did do was make a video with his teammates dancing to a remix of the anthem in their locker room. The #FergieRemixChallenge:

So if Slater wants to mend fences with Draymond, he can probably just talk to him face-to-face. But if that fails, there’s always a choreographed dance routine.