Draymond Green has been involved in more than a few foul plays in his five-year NBA career, but one was particularly costly.
In Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, Green struck LeBron James below the belt and was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul. Given it was his fourth technical foul of the playoffs, the Warriors forward was suspended for Game 5.
Green’s foolish act dramatically shifted the tone of the series — Golden State held a 3-1 series lead at the time of the suspension. The Cavaliers would take advantage of Green’s suspension in Game 5 and rode the momentum all the way to a thrilling series win in seven games.
The suspension still sits with Green, who has since used the incident as a learning experience.
“I’ll never forget that night,” Green told USA Today. “That’s a big night in my life. It’s something that changed me. It’s something that woke me up. It’s something that taught me a lot, so I appreciate it. I’m not one of those guys who’s like bitter that something bad happens to me. I use it, take the lesson from it, and move on.
“You go through certain things in life, and you grow. You learn to appreciate different things. You just really learn from mistakes that you made. I think the most important thing is just growth, in (and of) itself, and just understanding what’s in front of you. Never making the same mistakes twice.”
Green certainly has grown. He committed just two flagrant fouls during the 2016-17 regular season and none in the playoffs so far.
Thumbnail photo via Chris Nicoll/USA TODAY Sports Images