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‘The Bill Simmons Podcast’: Draymond Green on How Failure and the Media Fuel His Fire

Golden State Warriors forward and NBA most valuable talker Draymond Green joined Bill’s show yesterday as his record-breaking team prepares to mount its title defense. They spent one portion of the show, excerpted below, on how playoff losses and Twitter criticism from a certain sports media personality motivate Green and his teammates. Check out the entire episode on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Stitcher. This transcript has been condensed and lightly edited.

Bill Simmons: I keep going back to that Game 7 you lost to the Clippers. We had no idea that Steph was going to become this yet. We knew he was going to be really good. I went to that game. Chris Paul beat the shit out of him for four quarters. He committed 120 fouls on him in that game, and Steph kept coming back and fighting and trying to get his shot, and just fighting. For whatever reason, they just weren’t calling fouls at all in that game, and I thought that was the most important game of his career for what kind of ensued. Am I right or am I wrong?

Draymond Green: No, I think you’re definitely right. You know, after we lost that game, his whole mentality was different. It was kind of like, I think that’s what really, finally brought him out. Chris is a guy who Steph grew up working out with, who was kind of like a big brother to him. And I think at that point, it’s kind of like that point where you get tired of your older brother, and you’re going to go do something about it.

B.S.: Right.

D.G.: And I think that game right there, that series, was that point of, “OK, now I’ma show you who I really am. Now I’ma show you what I’m made of.” And from that point on, he’s taken — Steph’s taken the league over since then. And it’s incredible to watch — from where he’s come from that Game 7 to where he’s at now — is amazing. And I think that definitely had a part — played a role in where he’s at now, for sure — 100 percent. He’s that type of competitor. You know? I think that was failure for him. Some people with failure, they fold. And some people with failure, they use it to fuel them. And I think it’s fueled him.

B.S.: What did you take away from that game? Because you also made a big leap the following season too.

D.G.: That game right there showed me I really belong. You know, not only that game, that series, but really that Game 7 showed me that — I think we all reach a point where you understand, “I can do this.” And when I left Game 7 of that series, I told my boys, I said, “They done messed up. They just let me figure out that I can do the same thing I’ve done at every level at this level.” I said, “They done messed up this time. I’m about to take it to another level.” That’s what that game showed me.

B.S.: I think it was your rookie year — I was on TV, and you guys were in the playoffs. It was one of the first times Steph got really hot on a national stage against the Spurs. And I was talking about how the Warriors — nobody else could shoot 3s on the Warriors. I said something about how you couldn’t shoot 3s, and you got mad and you tweeted at me about it. And I remember thinking, like, I like this guy. This guy took it — you were shooting like 28 percent when I said you couldn’t shoot 3s — but you took it personally. I was like, I’m going to keep an eye on this guy. I like this guy. Do you remember that?

D.G.: [Laughing.] I do remember that. I’ll tell you exactly what it was. First off, I was shooting 28 percent from the field. I was shooting, like, 17 percent from 3.

B.S.: [Laughing.] OK.

D.G.: So that’s the first part. The second part, I remember you tweeted, you said something about, “No one else can shoot 3s,” and then you said, “Does Draymond Green not realize he can’t shoot? He’s open for a reason.”

B.S.: Oh, I remember that. OK. Yeah, that was good.

D.G.: And I said, “Oh, OK.” So I tweeted back.

B.S.: Yeah.

D.G.: And I said, “All right, I’ma show him and everybody else I can shoot.” And stuff like that has always fueled me because it’s like, all right, people are going to always doubt you, and they’re going to always do this. But it’s always fueled me. It’s funny because I was just watching Kobe last night, and when he finished at the end of his press conference, he thanked the media and he said, “You guys don’t understand what y’all do for the game. You know, whether we hate it or not, sometimes whether it’s a good article you write, whether it’s a bad article sometimes, it helps players.” And those things right there help me, because it made me work, and it shows me what I need to work on. “OK, well, this is what they’re saying about me. Let me go work on this and turn this weakness into one of my strengths.” And so that right there has helped me become the shooter that I’ve become. Now, I’m not a shooter — I can make shots. But it’s helped me get to this point. And so …

B.S.: So I get credit.

D.G.: I thank you for that, because, I mean, I thought I could shoot then … and so it made me get in the gym and continue to work. But without that tweet, do I even realize how bad of a shooter I am? Sometimes you get so caught up and lost just within yourself that you don’t even realize the reality. I think we all go through that.

B.S.: Well, I have someone else you should thank. I think you should also thank Jalen Rose, because he was — when we were watching those games in the little TV room with all the TVs, he was the one screaming that you were open for a reason. And I finally tweeted it. So you thank him as well. He was the other one. That’s a Jalen phrase. Jalen loves yelling that people are open for a reason. On your team, nobody is ever open for a reason, because everybody can shoot long range — except for Bogut. You guys have basically reinvented basketball.

This piece originally appeared on the Ringer Facebook page on April 15, 2016.