Draymond Green’s path to becoming an NBA champion has been difficult, but then again nothing is easy coming from Saginaw, MI.
Draymond Green has built a reputation for being fearless, unapologetic and the heart and soul for the Golden State Warriors. Those qualities are a direct reflection of the city that he hails from.
Saginaw is a small town in Michigan, approximately in the middle of your right hand if you’re holding it as if it were a glove. It’s a city of prideful people who live with a chip on their shoulders daily. A city that is home to Green, and a few former NBA players such as Darvin Ham, Kenyon Martin and former Slam Dunk Contest champion Jason Richardson.
Also known as “Day Day” by his family and friends, Green’s ascension to one of the league’s best players began once he graduated from Saginaw High School to play for Tom Izzo at Michigan State University. He helped the Spartans earn two Final Four appearances and a Big Ten championship in 2012.
As a result of Green’s success at MSU, the Warriors drafted him 35th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Fast forward to 2017 and he’s already an NBA champion and perhaps the best defender in the league.
He has always been a great defensive forward with a good basketball IQ. Some could even argue that he’s Golden State’s true point guard. His ability to control the ball on the break and find an open man is rare among players his size. Green’s passion for the game of basketball is evident on the floor, especially when he scores after the foul and begins to flex his biceps.
He helps the Warriors win even without being a primary scoring option, and a prime example was in last week’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies in which he had the first triple-double in NBA history without scoring 10 points. Green notched 10 assists, 10 steals, and 12 rebounds while only scoring 4 points in the victory.
“I knew Klay was knocking down the shots, so I knew the assists started to get up there, but I really didn’t know where I was as far as rebounds and steals,” Green said after the win.
That game was a staple in Green’s career. It perfectly summarizes the type of player he is, one who can make an impact on both ends of the floor.
It doesn’t hurt that Green has some pretty good teammates as well. On a team with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, he has embraced the role as the vocal leader of the squad.
He isn’t afraid to hold his teammates accountable, and last week during their game against the Sacramento Kings, he let Durant know exactly how he felt. Durant was having an uncharacteristically bad shooting night and Green let him have it. Afterwards, he explained his position to reporters.
“If you’ve got to hide something from one of your teammates and you can’t say something, then you’re in a bad situation,” Green said. “And me personally, I don’t want to be in that situation. If you’re on a team where you can’t talk, where there’s moments where you need to yell at each other — maybe that yelling is going to get each other going. So if there is a team like that, please make sure I’m on the first thing smoking out of there because that team ain’t for me.”
I applaud Green for holding Durant to a championship level standard. He’s been a winner for the majority of his life (high school, college, NBA, Olympics) and he knows what it takes.
With a resume that includes an NBA championship, an Olympic gold medal, two All-Star bids and a two All-Defensive First Team selections, Green is already the best player out of Saginaw.
Watching an individual who’s from the same hometown as you become successful is an amazing feeling, especially when that city has a bad reputation for its high crime rates. It’s inspirational, and can have an effect on the children who aspire to accomplish more than what their town offers them.
Green is doing an incredible job of representing our city on the other side of the country in Oakland, CA.