Draymond Green is an elite trash talker. Some fearlessness paired with near-perfect comedic timing makes for some of the most compelling moments in Golden State Warriors’ recent history.
Despite the turbulent start, Green is starting to settle back into this 2021 season on the court, and his trash talk followed. After the Warriors’ win over the Detroit Pistons last week, Green went in on Rodney McGruder — who had words for Juan Toscano Anderson after the game.
Klay Thompson, who was working as a part-time sideline commentator for the game, said McGruder “might be out the league soon” and “might be mad about that” when he saw the exchange go down. Green doubled down in his media availability.
“When did (expletive) Rodney McGruder become the tough guy of the team?…
“Too many tough guys in the league these days for me. But I know nobody’s scared of a damn Rodney McGruder. Klay said it best.”
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Green verbally lay into an opponent. Here are five of Green’s best beefs.
“You thought you was Kobe?”
NBA champion Paul Pierce announced the 2016-17 season would be the last of his illustrious 19-year career. His final year also coincided with the height of the Golden State Warriors’ basketball dominance with Kevin Durant. Pierce would retire with bitter Warriors rival, the Los Angeles Clippers. It all added up for one of Green’s most memorable trash-talk moments.
During one February game between the two rivals, Green fouled Blake Griffin near the Clippers’ bench. Pierce fired some trash talk.
“He can’t guard you BG. He too little.”
Green fired back with a soul-crushing retort.
“You chasing that farewell tour. They don’t love you like that. You ain’t got that type of love.You thought you was Kobe?”
The exchange might’ve gone unnoticed if not for ESPN’s hot microphone that picked up Green’s response live.
The LeBron stepover
What if Draymond Green had played Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals? We’ll never know, thanks to this tussle with LeBron James.
The Warriors at their peak would play James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in four straight Finals from 2015 to 2018, taking three of the four titles. Of course, that 2016 finals loss in seven thrilling games — that capped a record-breaking 73-win regular season — was rife with controversy.
It all peaked during Game 4, the Warriors up 2-1 in the series up 10 in the fourth quarter. Green set an aggressive screen on James, who pushed Green down and stepped over him. Green fought back by flailing his arms at James, making contact below James’ waistline as officials issued double fouls.
Golden State went up 3-1 and James was quick to tell reporters all the disrespect Green hurled his way. The league reassessed, and retroactively issued Green a flagrant 1, which was his third of the playoffs and earned him a Game 5 suspension. Green had been dominant in those Finals, and his absence triggered the infamous 3-1 collapse that’s been memed to death and a disappointing end to a historic season.
Green lashed back after the Warriors added Kevin Durant the next year and bulldozed through the 2017 season to a clean Finals win. At the celebratory parade, Green wore a shirt that said “Quickie,” a nod to the Cavs’ Quicken Loans Arena and, maybe, how quickly the Warriors answered back to the Finals loss.
Draymond Green and Kevin Durant
For all the concern about managing egos on the Warriors’ “superteam” that featured Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Green, things were copacetic for them during their initial title runs. But eventually, egos started to boil over.
Any tension behind the scenes came to the forefront in the Warriors’ overtime loss to the Clippers in Nov. 2018 — the core’s third year together. They’d erase a late deficit with an opportunity to win at the final buzzer. Green took the ball down court himself while Durant, the obvious choice to take the final shot, clapped furiously for the ball. Green stumbled on his way to the rim and Durant stormed off the court. Cameras caught a fiery argument between Durant and Green on the bench — according to Green, Durant was upset that Green didn’t give him the last possession and Green felt disrespected. The Warriors suspended Green for a game.
Green recounted the incident on a podcast, saying everyone knew Durant had his foot out of the door and that he felt his suspension was issued to appease Durant:
“I told them ya’ll gonna make a mistake suspending me because the only person that can fix this is me … they still did it … so I kind of patched it up. But it never was the same after that. But to me, it wasn’t the same before that and it hadn’t been the same for at least a year. It had just gone from bad to worse.”
The ripped jersey and Bradley Beal
While most of Green’s beefs have a well-documented history and deep roots, others occur in the heat of the moment. In a 2017 game against the Washington Wizards, Green irritated guard Bradley Beal on a block-out enough to ignite a kerfuffle.
Green boxed out Beal on a missed layup, to which Beal responded by wrapping his arm around Green’s neck and pulling him toward the baseline as the play went back up the court. They both stumbled behind the basket into some sort of push-fight. Both teams formed a scrum to pull the two apart — and Green emerged with a jersey ripped to shreds hanging off his body.
Green got his second technical on the play and was ejected.
Draymond vs. Charles Barkley
It’s all off the court, but it’s a hilarious beef nonetheless — and perhaps the most compelling. Of course two of the NBA’s best trash talkers of different generations have squared off.
Barkley can still get his trash talk off as an analyst for Inside the NBA on TNT. He opened up the grievance with a comment about Green’s skills.
“If you go out with a girl and they say she has a great personality, she’s ugly. If they tell you a guy works hard, he can’t play a lick. Same thing.”
Barkley would call out Green for getting his “usual triple-single” and relying on talents of his teammates for his success.
Green retorted to media: “Barkley should stop before I go take his job. Because I can do that, too.”
The jabs have gone back and forth between the two since, culminating with Green’s appearance alongside Barkley on Inside the NBA.
Contributed by local news sources