I watched Saturday night’s Warriors loss in Sacramento, and a number of things jumped out at me: the poor ball (and player) movement by the league’s best offensive team, an absurd number of shots taken by Klay Thompson, an even more absurd percentage of shots made by Kevin Durant, and the alarmingly absurd missed layup by Steph Curry in the final minute… and more, honestly. It was one of — if not the — worst game the Warriors have played this season.
One thing that did not especially jump out at me was Draymond Green and Kevin Durant yelling at one another. There are a number of reasons for this, including but not limited to (a) Draymond Green likes to yell and (b) the full scope of the yelling back-and-forth was not included on the television broadcast and (c) this already happened once this year and it was nothing then so who cares?
Yet today I discovered (via the internet and sports radio) that, in fact, some people DO care. Some people think it’s a problem; some people believe they just saw a chink in the armor of the presumptive 2017 NBA Champions.
Perhaps you’re saying, “Hey, Kolsky, that’s just the internet and sports radio, they always get exercised about nonsense — tune it out!” Well, to you I say first of all that those reactionary loud-talkers are my core audience and you keep your filthy mitts off of them and second of all you may be right… but please permit me a quick analogy to explain why!
This may be hard to believe for those of you who have heard me on the air, or who follow me on twitter, or who read any of the articles I’ve written for the website, but I am capable of being a frustrating and occasionally downright obnoxious contrarian. I also have a bit of a persecution complex (although, is it a complex when you’re actually being persecuted?) and occasionally fail to express myself in the most productive manner. Now, I’m not saying that the Warriors have anyone on the roster who is as difficult as me, I’m just saying that if they DID he would probably be a 6’7” do-everything power forward-slash-point guard who also happens to be my favorite player in the league.
I bring this up not to do anyone the great injustice of being compared to a middling sports update anchor, but to make a particular point — knowing these things about myself, having lived with myself for more than 35 years (which I assure you is no easy task), I know where I can really let it go.
Be more specific, you say? Ok… Earlier this afternoon I walked upstairs to the digital department here at KNBR with a complaint. In the process of lodging that complaint, I watched the faces of my coworkers (who we will call Lauren and Sam, and who are both delightful people that don’t know me especially well) become more and more annoyed — and, frankly, confused — by my comments and tone, until eventually I began apologizing and equivocating and left the room in shame, because I know that those two kindly individuals are neither prepared for nor deserving of my abrasiveness.
Upon leaving the room, I encountered another coworker (let’s call him Josh, and let’s say that we know each other pretty well and I’m comfortable that he understands my volatile personality). I proceeded, without shame, to lodge essentially the same complaint (which he has not only heard on at least three or four previous occasions but also knew I had just been whining about in the next room) in a louder voice and with significantly less self-awareness. Ultimately I left only when someone who outranked the both of us had been staring at me with an expression that said “what fresh hell is this???” for at least three minutes.
That’s a long, uninteresting story to make a simple and hopefully more interesting point — Draymond Green, much like myself, is no moron. I think it’s actually safe to say that he’s significantly less moronic than I am. He’s also very close with Kevin Durant; most accounts of the Warriors’ summer success revolved around Draymond’s constant haranguing of KD just to get him to sign with Golden State, and we’ve seen enough of the playful back-and-forth between the two in public this season to assume that there is significantly more going on behind the scenes.
It might be trite to go with the, “we’re brothers and brothers fight sometimes” excuse, especially since it has so often been used in scenarios where guys actually DON’T have a good relationship [see: Kevin Durant’s previous team]. But it’s also true, and as long as both parties understand each other and know how to react to the other’s foibles, everything is going to be fine.
Kevin Durant is, in many ways, the perfect counterpoint to Draymond — a quiet assassin, a tremendous talent with a soft streak. He’s a human blast shield in that he can absorb a Draysplosion of emotion and react reasonably. I’m very familiar with this concept, because the aforementioned “Josh” is far from the first friend I’ve had who I have asked (without ever explicitly asking) to endure me swearing repeatedly at them in a nasty tone and know that I mean no offense. And not just to know that, but to understand it deeply enough that they don’t even feel the natural human response to rudeness.
Kevin Durant has that ability — I know this not only because I recognize it based on my own experience, but because he’s said as much on multiple occasions this year and because he endured a similar personality in Oklahoma City for eight years. And because 30 minutes after I inappropriately yelled at Josh over irrelevant nonsense, I went back upstairs and we brainstormed the idea for this article together.
Trust me — some people thrive in a high-octane, highly emotional environment… and that quality just happens to be the one (and only one) that Draymond Green and I share.