Warriors Green Lists Top Rival as One of NBA’s All-Time Best Players

Getty Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after a three-point shot against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of NBA game at Footprint Center on December 25, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Warriors defeated the Suns 116-107. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has a lot of basketball left, but the analyst booth is waiting when he decides his time on the court is through.

As such, Green tackled one of the most common sports debates argued on barstools and in game rooms across generations: who are the best five NBA basketball players of all time?

The context was episode 2 of the Uninterrupted show “Throwing Bones,” which Green hosts, and where the Dubs great held court over a game of dominos with Chelsea Gray and Too $hort while sharing his expertise.

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On Friday, January 14, Bleacher Report took to Instagram to post a graphic of Green’s take on the best to ever play the game he loves. At least one of the names on the list might come as something of a surprise to some fans.

In order, Green’s top five were: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Steph Curry.

Green added a clarification to his list, noting that it included only players he has played against or with whose games he is reasonably familiar, Jordan and Johnson being examples of the latter. None of the five named as part of the forward’s top five all-time players ever played a minute in the NBA before 1979.

“By the way, I don’t get off into naming people who are not my era,” Green said in the episode’s Instagram video preview. “Like Wilt Chamberlain. I didn’t see Wilt Chamberlain play.”

James Surprising Choice As No. 2 On Green’s Top Five List

LeBron James Lakers-Grizz

GettyLos Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts to a play during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The selection of Jordan, the Chicago Bulls six-time champion, wasn’t much of a shocker. He is the most common answer whenever the question is asked. But Green’s choice of James as No. 2 on the list, also a popular position for the Lakers forward in many such discussions, could come as a surprise to some.

The surprise, were it to occur, would reside in the heated basketball history between the two players. Green and James squared off in four straight NBA Finals between the Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2015-18. Golden State captured three of those titles, falling to James and the Cavs just once in 2016.

That year, the Dubs held a 3-1 lead in the series and were hosting Game 5 at home. Green and James got tied up near half court in Game 4, with the Dubs’ forward taking a tumble to the hardwood. Upon getting up, Green struck James in the midsection with his fist.

Subsequent arguments ensued as to whether the play was intentional or not. However, video review from the NBA League Office following the game deemed the action a flagrant foul. The league’s designation of Green’s action earned him his fourth flagrant foul point of that year’s playoffs, resulting in Green’s controversial suspension for Game 5 of the series.

The Cavs went on to win that contest, along with Games 6 and 7, capturing the title and leaving a sour taste in the mouths of the Warriors and their fans after a historic 73-9 regular season.

Green, James Have Patched Things Up Over Last 5 Years

GettyLeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, looks to pass while under pressure from Draymond Green, of the Golden State Warriors, during Game 2 of the 2015 NBA Finals on June 7, 2015 in Oakland, California. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

The two fierce competitors have jarred and jabbed back and forth in games since the altercation. But the state of their relationship should be clear not just based on Green’s assessment of James’ career, but based on the very platform from which Green made the comments.

Uninterrupted is a multi-media platform that showcases athlete, artist and celebrity voices through original content, including video made for television and the internet, podcasts and written pieces, among other media forms. James is the mind and money behind Uninterrupted, which has featured Green heavily in its content.

Not only is Green hosting “Throwing Bones,” but he was an early guest on “The Shop: Uninterrupted,” which has aired for four seasons on HBO and features round-table discussions between prominent names in sports, entertainment, music, business and other fields.

Green has other media aspirations as well, even as his NBA career continues on successfully. He is the host of his own podcast, “The Draymond Green Show,” on The Volume and has appeared regularly on “Inside the NBA on TNT” with hosts Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

James also has interest in a media career, as his Hollywood production company SpringHill was valued at $725 million as part of a new deal announced in October, per the Los Angeles Times.

Both Green and James have strong personalities complemented by name and face recognition due to their successful NBA careers with high-profile teams. The two have similar aspirations, a mutual respect for one another, a business relationship and possibly even a budding friendship. It would make sense for them to align professionally moving forward, as each continues to build his own empire on and off the court — except of course should they meet in down the line in the Western Conference Playoffs. Then, all bets are off.