Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green is “forever grateful” for the advice his former head coach Mark Jackson gave to him upon entering the NBA.
Recently on Cari Champion’s “The Brownprint” podcast, NBA champion, future basketball Hall of Famer, and current star of the Warriors Green elaborated on advice his former coach and current NBA analyst and color commentator Mark Jackson gave him upon being drafted into the Warriors organization at number 35 in the 2012 NBA draft.
“I also had a coach in Mark Jackson who told me from the very beginning, ‘Listen, I want you to come here as the same Draymond I’ve been watching on TV for years. I want you to be an animal, be a dog and be a leader. I don’t care who is in front of you, I don’t care who has more money than you, who has more status in the league than you — I want you to come in and be the same leader that you’ve been your whole life.’
“And I’m forever thankful for Mark Jackson because to hear that from your head coach as a second-round pick, it’s almost like a stamp of approval. And I think a lot of guys don’t necessarily get that coming into the league. I was very fortunate to have Mark Jackson tell me that from the very beginning.”
Transitioning to Champions
Going into the 2012 season the Warriors hadn’t had much playoffs success since they’re “We Believe” Warriors teams helmed by Stephen Jackson, Jason Richardson, Baron Davis, and coached by Don Nelson. During that 2006 – 2007 season, the Warriors were able to upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks led by then MVP Dirk Nowitzki.
With Jackson as their coach and moving toward a more fast-paced oriented system, Draymond began to adjust his mindset to what he believed the Warriors would need to be winners in the future.
“So when I stepped off the plane, I was coming in like, ‘F–k ya’ll. I’m here to get a spot. I’m here to help this team win,’ because they were some f–king losers,” the three-time NBA champion said. “I had never lost in my life. So I came in talking s–t to everybody. I came in trying to get as many minutes as I possibly can.
“I wanted to come in and try to change the mentality of this organization that had been getting their f–king heads cracked for years on end.”
Advice From Kobe Bryant
Further into the conversation, Green discussed the reputation he received of being a dirty player and specifically, some of the criticism he received after being suspended during the 2016 NBA Finals. While many believe he was suspended after his arm to the groin of LeBron James in Game 4, it was actually the total number of flagrant fouls he had received up to that point which caused him to sit out the following game.
Hearing the criticism that Green had received, NBA legend Kobe Bryant reached out to have a conversation about how that could be utilized as more fuel to his fire.
“You’re chasing something so much bigger, so much great than the average person can understand. The reality is 99 percent of the world is OK with mediocrity,” Bryant stated. “How do you even expect them to be able to understand you? Dray, I never gave a f–k if they understood me because I knew I was on to something so much bigger than they could even understand.”