14 Jan

Adam Silver talked Warriors star out of retirement, KD comment inspired ‘breakthrough’

Draymond Green told Adam Silver that he was going to retire, and the NBA commissioner talked him out of it, the Golden State Warriors forward said on an episode his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show.” Green, who was suspended indefinitely on Dec. 13 after hitting Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face, said he was “lucky” to get guidance from Silver, NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations Joe Dumars and ex-Warriors president Bob Myers.

“I had a conversation with Adam Silver, the commissioner of our league,” Green said in the episode that was released Monday morning. “And I just told him, ‘Adam, it’s too much for me. Like, it’s too much. This is too much. It’s all becoming too much for me. And i’m going to retire.'”

“And Adam said, ‘You’re making a very rash decision, and I won’t let you do that.’ And I’m like, ‘No, Adam, I’m not really sure it’s a rash decision. It’s all too much.’ And we had a long, great conversation, very helpful to me. Very thankful to play in a league with a commissioner like Adam, who’s more about helping you than hurting you. Or helping you than punishing you. He’s more about the players.”

“I told him ‘I’m going to retire’”

—@Money23Green opens up about his conversation with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after the Jusuf Nurkić incident pic.twitter.com/kgJrnJzBS7

— The Volume (@TheVolumeSports) January 8, 2024
Green’s suspension was lifted over the weekend. He was on the bench during Golden State’s 133-118 loss against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday and is ramping up for his return to the court. Here’s what else stood out in Green’s first public comments since the suspension.

Green apologizes for incidents, vows to stop ‘antics’
In the first episode of the podcast since July Green apologized for the Nurkic incident and for grabbing Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert around the neck on Nov. 14.

“For starters, let’s go back to Dec. 12. That date will be ingrained in my mind for a while,” Green said. “Let’s go back to Dec. 12 in Phoenix, Arizona, playing against the Phoenix Suns, third quarter, and I connect with Nurkic, get kicked out of the game, do my postgame interview, all of those things. And as I said then and I’ll say now, I was wrong. I was wrong regardless of what I was trying to do, regardless of — none of that shit matters. I was wrong. I accept my fault in that and I apologize.

“Not only from that,” Green continued. “Rudy Gobert situation, I was wrong. Went way too far. I am a guy who plays on the edge. I am a guy who walks right up to that line and I have no problem with admitting I have walked over that line. And for that I apologize.”

Green apologized to his family and friends. “My mom experienced death threads,” he said, adding that most of his two school-aged children’s friends (or friends’ parents) are Golden State fans. He apologized to to the Warriors organization, and specifically to Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, coach Steve Kerr and owner Joe Lacob, in addition to Myers, the team’s former executive turned ESPN analyst.

“Joe Lacob made a commitment to me this past summer for the next four years, and the conversations that we had in leading up to it — I failed miserably,” Green said. “And I apologize for that. The Golden State Warriors organization, I always say that’s my baby. Steph, Klay, Steve, Bob — we’ve been there from the beginning of what you know the Warriors as today. And I failed them miserably.”

Green “sat in my man cave for two days” after the suspension, he said. On Dec. 14, his three-year-old daughter FaceTimed him, then “pulled me out into the yard and we played.” That day, Green “realized I had to move forward.” It was also on that day that Kerr visited him at home.

“We sat in the yard,” Green said. “He cried, I cried. Because there’s a bond there that [we have] seen it all. Seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. And he just said to me, ‘I want you to end this the right way. I want us to end this the right way. And you’re not doing that right now. So I want you to do what you have to do to get in a space to where you can do that and that we can do that.'”

Kerr said, according to Green, that he was proud that Green had taken accountability in his most recent press conference. “You’ve apologized before, but there’s always a but,” Green recalled Kerr saying. Green laughed and told Kerr that his wife had told him the same thing: “No buts.”

Green said that he “let the organization down, I let the NBA down, my family, myself, my partners.” He said that, in terms of “the responsibility that’s been placed upon me as a father, as a husband, as a podcaster, as a business owner, as a television personality, as a Black man in America,” he has “handled it miserably. Terribly.”

On the court, Green said, he will continue to “mix things up,” but he pledged to “stop taking the excuse and running with it and saying I can’t play the way I play if I don’t do this.” In other words, he believes can play with his edge without crossing any more lines.

“I love this game and I love to compete and you don’t just get to turn that off,” Green said. “But I’m also smart enough to know what an antic is and what isn’t. And I can get rid of the antics. I’m more than capable of doing that. I look forward to it.”

Green’s ‘breakthrough’ involving Durant
Early in the suspension, Green “dove all the way into” the commentary about him in the media, he said. Normally, he would “want to say ‘F you’ or ‘watch me show you,'” but “this time was different for me. I watched them. I listened.”

Initially, he said, he was defensive when he heard people saying that he needed to get help, but then he decided to look at it differently.

“I’ll tell you it really pissed me off when Kevin Durant said, ‘He wasn’t like that when I was around, I hope he gets the help he needs.’ And I started going into this deep dive about, like, ‘How this, how that,’ but then it’s like, wait a minute. What do you want the world to know about you?”

Green said that he has grown in recent years, but “I haven’t allowed anyone in the world to see that growth.” He said that he told himself not to attach a negative connotation to the word “help.”

“I was like maybe you shouldn’t hear ‘help’ so negatively,” Green said. “Like maybe you’re listening to the word ‘help’ with the same mindset that the word ‘help’ meant when you were 15 years old. So maybe you shouldn’t hear that negatively, so negatively, and maybe he’s not saying that as negatively as you’re taking it. And even if he was, I made a decision in that moment that I wasn’t going to take it that way.”

Green said that this was a “breakthrough.”

“Once I did that, I felt, OK, now I can start to put together what I think this process should look like.”

Green said that, whenever the Warriors would have a sports psychologist or therapist address the team, he’d tell his teammates that he needed therapy but wasn’t ready for it.

“I’d say, ‘I need therapy, I’m so afraid. I am so afraid, though. Because the things that you may uncover, I’m not sure I’m in a space to handle them. I’m so afraid. But one day I’m going to do it,'” Green said.

In this way, Green sees the suspension as a blessing in disguise.

“This helped me just dive in,” Green said. “Like, just go all in. Whatever comes up, it comes up. I needed the push. I needed that push because it’s something that I had wanted to do anyway. I just didn’t have the balls to do it. And yes, I say ‘the balls to do it’ because it’s hard work. It takes a lot. It’s exhausting work. But it’s rewarding.”

Green repeatedly called himself a “champion of change.” He referred to this period of time away from the team as a “turning point.” He also said that he needs to continue working on himself.

‘This is not, ‘Oh, he went to some therapy and in three weeks he’s great,'” Green said. “No. I still have a lot of things to work on. But I am enjoying that work. And the work that I was so afraid to do, I’m happy this brought me to it.”

Green said he’s “still the same Draymond you knew before,” but he’s “embracing the growth” in a way that he hasn’t previously, adding that his time off has been “incredible” because “I’ll be better from it — in all facets of my life.” He thanked Curry, Chris Paul and LeBron James for checking in on him, referenced an hourlong chat with his college coach, Tom Izzo, and said he’s thankful to get another chance to do what he loves and he wants “to do all that I can to not f— that up for me.” After not touching a basketball for a week to 10 days post-suspension, Green has gotten back on the court and been working out. He said he’s excited to show how he’s grown when he returns.

“You don’t just change the spots on a leopard. But what I do realize is there’s some things that I can leave behind,” Green said. “The antics, i can leave behind. And it’s OK. That won’t change the Draymond that the world has gotten to know. That won’t change the way I play the game of basketball.”

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