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Every NBA team should have a special heel like Draymond Green | Golden State Warriors

As a fan of Boston sports, I must confess: I love Draymond Green.

That’s debatable, given that Green’s main role in the Golden State Warriors’ victory over the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals this year was to do everything in his power to get under the team’s skin. The truth is, the league needs its trolls, and Green has had his winning lap since the championship, solidifying his status as its alpha destroyer.

Most players would be happy to bask in the glory of a title win, but Green won’t rest until he’s drunk on the tears of his enemies. So, of course, he won’t let the Memphis Grizzlies off the hook just because the Warriors eliminated them over a month ago. Back on March 28, Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Grizzlies was trolling the Warriors. tweeting a phrase “strength in numbers” after winning the regular season.

Golden State guard Klay Thompson was the first to post the tweet since the Warriors won their fourth championship in eight years last week, using a press conference to call Jackson a “fucking slacker.” Memphis’ Ja Morant took to Twitter to suggest that his team still lives in the Warriors’ minds (which may be true). It was a tactical error, because the Warriors quickly deployed their not-so-secret weapon in a war of words: Green, who went scorched earth on the young Grizzlies star.

Here’s the problem for those who don’t like it when Green verbally destroys a team that the Warriors have already humiliated on the court: no one can tell him that he hasn’t earned the right to say what he wants. With the Warriors’ latest title, he now has four rings as part of the core of a true NBA dynasty. He was a four-time All-Star and was Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 (and likely deserved the honor in other years). Not a bad career for a relatively short power forward who famously didn’t get picked until the second round of the 2012 draft.

Green is a Basketball Heel that goes beyond a simple Trash Talker. Trash talk, after all, is an accepted and vital part of the game: there’s something about a sport that requires players to constantly hit on opponents, which has made personal insults a useful tool. Even Hall of Famers like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett (perhaps the most outspoken talker in NBA history) had a reputation for being extremely unfriendly during games.

However, these players mostly limited their efforts to the court, especially those who tried to sell you shoes. The basketball heel keeps talking after the game, even after losses and especially after wins. AT essay for GQ Speaking of the modern NBA heel phenomenon, Nathaniel Friedman pinpointed the origins of the modern basketball Trickster figure to Allen Iverson, who during his career was hated by the NBA establishment but respected by the younger generation. Legacy included one word: “exercise.”

Maybe Iverson is the best example, but there are others from the 1990s-00s that fit the bill. Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley were would-be comedians who devoted their entire post-game careers to treating the league in essentially the same way that Statler and Waldorf treated The Muppets. Even those who hated Rasheed Wallace during his NBA days often repeat his “ball don’t lie” catchphrase when opponents miss free throws they got from questionable whistles. The man once known as Metta World Peace was once so successful in trolling the city that it led to full-blown riots.

Okay, the last example isn’t entirely positive, but heels are wreaking havoc and even they can’t predict what’s going to happen. In ancient mythologies, the Trickster archetype sometimes brings with it the powers of creation… and sometimes nothing but destruction. There’s no denying that Green brought both to the playoffs with him, perhaps to an unequal degree.

As Andrew Lawrence of The Guardian wrote during that series against the Grizzlies, “There was a lot of debate about who is the best remaining player in the NBA playoffs. But there’s no doubt about who’s the most annoying.” Green continued to stamp his mark in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, playing the system to avoid a proper ejection while making enough off-kilter plays that caused Celtics fans to berate him through Game 3.

In the end, he had the last laugh. After the Warriors beat the Celtics in six games, Green took to Twitter (the Heal’s playground). write the following: “Getting ready for the seventh game tonight… (emoji lock)!!! Happy father’s day.”

Getting ready for Game 7 tonight… 🔒v!!! Happy father’s day

— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) June 19, 2022

As a grieving Celtics fan and as a person who missed the opportunity to blog about Game 7, this should have infuriated me. But all I could do was laugh. And then retweet it.

In an ideal world, each team should have a Designated Heel like Green to get inside the other team’s head, fuel and maintain feuds, and provide the public with an endless supply of free entertainment. Like pro wrestling, except the results are mostly unprogrammed (give or take a Tim Donaghy or two), the NBA is a grand entertainment centered around oversized individuals. There’s a reason the wrestling term “heel” has quickly made its way into the basketball lexicon, and there’s definitely a reason we sportswriters can’t stop using it to describe Green. Hell, he even has his own custom wwe belt!

More than any of his peers, Green has earned the right to set fire to the rest of the league. If anyone in the league wants to shut him up, well, they can probably find him in the playoffs next year.

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