5 dirtiest plays of Draymond Green's career

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors the 2021 preseason
Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors the 2021 preseason

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors is notorious for getting under his opponent's skin.

He has built a reputation for this kind of behavior, and even the slightest of on-court altercations can easily lead to a technical foul for him or even his ejection. He once received a technical for shouting at his own teammate, James Wiseman.

Draymond Green has been top 12 in the league in technical fouls drawn for every season since 2014, and has been second twice. He has had ejections from regular-season games and even high-intensity NBA Finals clashes. Green often shouts at referees as well, and the opposing fans start to celebrate thinking he would get ejected.

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The Golden State Warriors take on the LA Lakers on opening night of the 2021-22 NBA season, and they will need every bit of Draymond Green's intensity. On that note, here's a look at five dirty plays by Green over the years:


#5 Draymond Green and Bradley Beal fight in 2017

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors walks off with a torn jersey [Source: Bleacher Report]
Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors walks off with a torn jersey [Source: Bleacher Report]

On October 27th, 2017, Draymond Green and Bradley Beal got into a violent altercation on the court in the final minute of the first half.

Green blocked Beal's shot near the rim, and then proceeded to box him out to grab the rebound after Kelly Oubre Jr.'s missed three-pointer. The fight erupted after Beal seemingly grabbed Green by the neck, and the two players went at it, eventually reaching the front row of the stands.

One would never know if Beal did so out of frustration because Green had blocked his shot. He spoke about the incident after the game, and said he expects to get suspended by the NBA because the league would interpret it as his fault.

ESPN's Chris Haynes asked Draymond Green about the incident and subsequent ejection at half-time to which the latter replied:

"I don't know what I'm supposed to do if someone hits you twice...Man, you're taught as a kid not to allow that. What was I supposed to do?"

The fight was so serious and violent that Draymond Green's jersey was completely torn apart. Both the players got ejected from the game and were later suspended. Green received a $25,000 fine, while Beal had to pay $50,000.


#4 Draymond Green shoved James Harden during Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Western Conference Finals

Draymond Green pushes James Harden in Game 1 of the 2018 WCF [Source: USA Today]
Draymond Green pushes James Harden in Game 1 of the 2018 WCF [Source: USA Today]

Not every fight results in torn jerseys, and on-court altercations during a playoff game often cool down within seconds because players realise the gravity of the situation. Nobody wants to get thrown out of the game while your team is fighting to avoid elimination. However, at the same time, the intensity in playoff games is always amped up.

Not even 70 seconds into the game, Draymond Green received a technical foul for shoving James Harden in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Western Conference Finals. The Houston Rockets had the best record in the league and had home-court advantage over the Golden State Warriors, so they hosted Game 1. Harden scored five quick points for the Rockets, and then Green elbowed him to the chin and proceeded to shove him on the chest.

James Harden was the best player on the Rockets team, and he couldn't afford to get tangled with a hot-head like Green, so he walked away with class. Meanwhile, Green received a technical foul for the umpteenth time that season, and the Bay Area fans feared a one-game suspension for the forward.

#3 Draymond Green hit an already injured Mike Conley in Game 2 of the 2015 NBA Western Conference Semi-finals

Mike Conley wearing a face mask during the 2015 NBA Western Conference Semis [Source: AP]
Mike Conley wearing a face mask during the 2015 NBA Western Conference Semis [Source: AP]

Draymond Green might have gotten away with a flagrant foul here when he hit Mike Conley in the face, who was with the Memphis Grizzlies at the time.

It was Conley's first game back from facial fracture surgery, and he was wearing a face mask for protection. But during the second quarter of Game 2 of the 2015 NBA Western Conference Finals, Green hit him in the face while trying to get the ball.

Whether it was intentional or accidental is a mystery, but Conley fell to the ground grabbing his face in pain. Mike Conley showed sportsmanship and veteran maturity as he brushed away the incident calling it 'just basketball', and the Grizzlies also thought it was just incidental. He said after practice, as reported by SFGate:

"At the end of the day, I think Draymond Green is a phenomenal player...He’s a competitor. In the heat of the game, things happen. Guys get hit. Guys bring a lot of passion to the game. I have no opinion other than that. I think it was just basketball."

#2 Draymond Green kicked Steven Adams in the groin during the 2016 NBA Western Conference Finals

Draymond Green (right) kicks Steven Adams in the groin in 2016 [Source: AP]
Draymond Green (right) kicks Steven Adams in the groin in 2016 [Source: AP]

It is noteworthy that Draymond Green has kicked Steven Adams in the groin not once, but twice.

He did so for the first time in Game 3 against OKC Thunder during the 2016 NBA Western Conference Finals. He was slapped a foul at the time which was later upgraded to a flagrant 2 by the league. A flagrant 2 foul would have resulted in automatic ejection had it been called during the game. Green was also fined $25,000 by the NBA, but was not suspended as many fans expected.

The incident was at OKC Thunder's home, and the fans chanted "Kick him out" in the arena, and several Twitter polls suggested that he be suspended. The groin kick happened again in the same series, but this time at the Warriors' home court.

NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Kiki VanDeWeghe issued a statement saying:

"After a thorough investigation that included review of all available video angles and interviews with the players involved and the officials working the game, we have determined that Green's foul was unnecessary and excessive and warranted the upgrade and fine...During a game, players at times flail their legs in an attempt to draw a foul, but Green's actions in this case warranted an additional penalty."

The Golden State Warriors started to fear a one-game suspension because of the accumulation of technical fouls and flagrants by Green. That fear turned out to be true later in the postseason.


#1 Draymond Green swipes at LeBron James' groin during the 2016 NBA Finals

LeBron James steps over Draymond Green during the 2016 NBA Finals
LeBron James steps over Draymond Green during the 2016 NBA Finals

LeBron James stepped over Draymond Green, and the latter retaliated by swinging his fist. The swing appeared to be near James' groin, and the NBA issued a suspension for Green for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

Green didn't actually hit James, and it has never happened in the history of the NBA that a key starter was suspended in the middle of a Finals series. This was one of the most controversial suspensions in the league's history, and it eventually resulted in the Cavaliers' first championship in franchise history.

Many analysts, till this day, believe that the NBA gave LeBron James a gift, or 'stimulus package', as ESPN analyst Stephen A Smith calls it, by suspending Green.

Draymond Green is the heart and soul of the Golden State Warriors, and his suspension during a close-out Game 5 flipped the series in the Cleveland Cavaliers' favor. Nevertheless, LeBron James is one of the smartest players in basketball, and he likely did everything he could to get under the skin of Green, who was already hanging by a thread in terms of technical fouls.

Green doesn't regret the reaction he had that game but regrets that his shenanigans led to a loss in the 2016 NBA Finals. That could have been the greatest season ever by any team in NBA history.

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