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Dealing with three groin-related incidents during the 2016 NBA playoffs took its toll on Draymond Green’s psyche, as the basketball world was making him out to be a dirty player who was intentionally looking to strike opposing players between the legs.
Green knew otherwise, yet had a hard time dealing with the fact he was being portrayed that way. To help him handle such scrutiny after the Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 series lead in the Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the All-Star forward – who was suspended for Game 5 for striking LeBron James – reached out to a mentor and one of the most competitive players to ever grace the hardwood in Kobe Bryant.
“I was going through all that s— with the media and with the kicks and I was f—— up,” Green told GQ.com’s Clay Skipper. “So I called Kobe, and said, ‘(This) s—s killing me, because these people are painting me to be something that I’m not, wondering, would I kick anybody on purpose? I wouldn’t kick anybody on purpose. It’s f—– up.'”
Green remembered one line in particular from Bryant: “As long as you wait for them to understand you, you’re f—–.”
“It was the best s— I ever heard,” Green added. “Because it gave me an understanding of why people don’t understand me. I’m so crazy competitive. I put my competitiveness up there with anyone. How could someone understand that? It’s a different level.”
That wasn’t the first time Green contacted Bryant that postseason. When the Warriors trailed 3-1 to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals, the Los Angeles Lakers icon offered him some solid advice.
“If making history was easy, why bother?” Bryant texted. The Warriors wound up winning the next three games before squaring off with Cleveland.