(CBS Local) — Draymond Green always has something to say, no matter the place, no matter the topic. That much has become clear in an eight-year career that’s cast him with an integral part in the Golden State Warriors’ multiple NBA Championship runs. The talking has continued through the team’s most recent injury-filled season and into the coronavirus hiatus. No one should be surprised.
Green joined Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson remotely from quarantine on Episode 30 of All The Smoke. As per usual, he had a lot to say, on a variety of topics, from transitioning from young player to veteran, to enduring a losing season, and more.
The most recent NBA season, before it abruptly ended, was unusual for Green. He had won his entire career, not just in the NBA, but in basketball. “I had to find little challenges within the challenge,” Green said. “And so for me, my whole mindset [going] into this season was how can I help these young guys get better? How can I help them improve? How can I help get these guys set up to make the money they want to make in this league? And so that was kind of my focus. I can go out and try to score 20 a game. That’s what the world wanted me to do. I really didn’t give a… . That’s not who I was going to be for this team. So just because the world wants me to go try to do that, I’m not gonna do that. I’m gonna be who I am and try to help these young guys. If we win, great. If we don’t, who cares? We don’t win for a year, it is what it is. So my whole focus was just trying to be a mentor and teach these young guys.”
As Green described it, “I went from the young guy to the super vet on the team.”
The mentor role didn’t necessarily come easily or naturally. “I’ve been a leader on the team, but I’ve always kind of been like a little brother… that’s still got an attitude problem. So I get mad at times and go off, and then one of them guys (veterans such as Jarrett Jack, Jermaine O’Neal, David West) are like ‘shut up, you’re good now.’ I’ve always had that guy, and now, all of a sudden, I was kind of that guy.”
But losing is hard, especially coming off years of success. “I’m a competitor, I hate losing,” Green stresses. “It was tough, at times, for me. I would just get frustrated or pissed off. Trying to find that balance of getting frustrated or pissed off and teaching these young guys. But then also when is enough enough, you need to learn this? So that was a bit frustrating for me.”
But being on the other side of winning has its moments of enlightenment. “I’ve been on the best team in the world for the last five years or so,” Green reflects. “I remember sorry teams always saying to us, ‘you all get calls.’ And I’m like, yo, we really don’t get no calls.’ But now, being on a sorry team this year, I saw exactly what they were talking about. It was almost, at times, like referees… their time to get back.”