Draymond Green disrupts Golden State’s good vibes with one punch

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green poses for a photograph during an NBA basketball media day in San Francisco, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Draymond Green, part of Golden State’s championship core, roams the basketball court with the energy of a lit fuse.

But his intensity has also caused problems. On Friday, TMZ posted a video of Green punching Jordan Poole, one of his teammates, at a practice this week.


Bob Myers, Golden State’s general manager, acknowledged that there had been an “altercation” between the two players when he spoke at a news conference Thursday, adding that any disciplinary action against Green would be handled internally.

“Look, it’s the NBA,” Myers said. “It’s professional sports. These things happen. Nobody likes it. We don’t condone it. But it happened.”

A spokesperson for the team said Golden State was investigating how the video got to TMZ.

Green subsequently apologized in a team meeting that included the players and the coaching staff, Myers said. Green did not practice with the team Thursday.

Golden State opened its preseason by traveling to Japan for two games against the Washington Wizards. The Warriors are scheduled to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

“I’ve actually seen a really good group,” Myers said. “For the people who went to Japan with us, it’s actually one of the best vibes we’ve had in my 12 years here as far as camp and health and mental health and camaraderie. But it’s unfortunate, and I’m not going to deny it. It’ll take some time to move through it, but we’ll move through it and move forward, and I’m confident that we will.”

Green, 32, is a four-time All-Star and one of the NBA’s more polarizing figures. A 6-foot-6 forward, he is a ferocious defender with unique passing abilities for someone his size. He also screams at referees, taunts opposing fans and collects technical fouls like they are baseball cards.

Green, who has spent his entire career with Golden State, has often said he knows how to play only one way — with force, by pushing acceptable limits. That was certainly the case in June, when he tussled with various Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. By the end of the series, Green was a champion for the fourth time.

At times, Green’s aggressiveness has caused issues. Most famously, he was suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals after he collected too many flagrant fouls. (The last straw was striking LeBron James in the groin.) Golden State lost that game and then the next two as the Cleveland Cavaliers came back to win their first and only championship.

In November 2018, he had a well-publicized squabble with Kevin Durant, who was then one of his teammates, that led to Green’s being suspended for a game. During a game the next March, coach Steve Kerr was filmed in a candid moment telling one of his assistants that he was tired of Green’s antics.

Poole, a 23-year-old shooting guard, was one of Golden State’s breakout stars last season, averaging a career-best 18.5 points a game while emerging as a multidimensional scoring threat next to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Poole is in the final season of his rookie contract and is line for a huge extension.

In the video posted by TMZ, Green appears to approach Poole on one of the baselines at Wednesday’s practice before going chest-to-chest with him. Poole pushes Green, who responds by punching Poole in the face and knocking him to the ground. Several others rush in to break it up. There is no audio.

“It’s a situation that could’ve been avoided,” Curry told reporters Thursday. “But there’s a lot of trust in the fabric of our team, who we are, who we know those two guys to be and how we’ll get through it and try to continue to make it about playing great basketball.”

During his NBA playing career, Kerr was involved in a notable fracas of his own. In a heated practice with the Chicago Bulls before the start of the 1995-96 season, Michael Jordan punched him in the face.

The fight was recounted in “The Last Dance,” an ESPN documentary series about the Jordan-era Bulls. Kerr said in the documentary that standing up to Jordan was probably “the best thing that I ever did.”

“From that point on, our relationship dramatically improved and our trust in each other, everything,” Kerr said. “It was like, ‘All right, we got that out of the way. We’re going to war together.’”

The Bulls went on to win the NBA championship after setting a regular-season record with 72 wins.

At a news conference Thursday, Kerr declined to comment when asked about his fight with Jordan.

“We had a documentary about that,” he said. “Watch ‘The Last Dance.’”

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