Every NBA team should have a designated heel like Draymond Green | golden state warriors


I have a confession to make as a Boston sports fan: I love Draymond Green.

This is controversial given that Green’s main role in the Golden State Warriors’ victory over the Boston Celtics in this year’s NBA Finals was to go to great lengths to get under the team’s skin. The truth is, the league needs his trolls, and Green has spent her post-championship victory lap cementing his status as his alpha disruptor.

Most players would be happy to bask in the glitter of a title victory, but Green won’t be satisfied until he drinks the tears of his enemies. So, of course, he’s not going to let the Memphis Grizzlies get away just because the Warriors eliminated them over a month ago. On March 28, the Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr trolled the Warriors by tweeting the phrase “strength is in numbers” after a regular season win.


Golden State guard Klay Thompson was the first to mention that tweet after the Warriors clinched their fourth championship in eight years last week, using a news conference to call Jackson a “fucking bum.” Memphis’ Ja Morant took to Twitter to suggest his team still lived in the Warriors’ head (which may be a valid point). That was a tactical mistake, because the Warriors quickly unleashed their not-so-secret weapon in a war of words: Green, who became scorched earth with the Grizzlies’ young star.

We traded that real estate in @JaMorant the property value was higher in Boston

— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) June 19, 2022


The champs play at home Young! Christmas Day… LJ 🙏🏿🙏🏿

— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) June 19, 2022


Here’s the problem for those who don’t like Green verbally destroying a team the Warriors already humiliated on the floor: There’s no one to 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 has been named an All-Star four times and was Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 (and probably deserved that honor in other years). Not a bad career for a relatively small power forward who unfortunately wasn’t selected until the second round of the 2012 draft.

Green is a Basketball Heel, which goes beyond a simple Trash Talker. Trash-talking, after all, is an accepted and vital part of the game – there’s something about a sport that requires players to constantly annoy opponents that has made personal insult a useful tool. Even Hall of Famers like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett (arguably the most extreme trash talker in NBA history) had a reputation for being extremely hostile during games.

However, those players mostly limited their efforts to the pitch, especially the ones trying to sell you shoes. The Basketball Heel keeps its mouth open after the game, even after losses and especially after wins. In an essay for GQ on the modern NBA heels phenomenon, Nathaniel Friedman pointed to the origins of the modern basketball Trickster figure in Allen Iverson, hated by the NBA establishment during his career but revered by younger generations. , whose legacy became in a single word: “practice”.

Perhaps Iverson is the best example, but there are others from the 1990s and 2000s that fit the bill. Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley were aspiring comedians who devoted their entire post-playing career to essentially treating the league like Statler and Waldorf treated The Muppet Show. Even those who hated Rasheed Wallace during his NBA days find themselves repeating his catchphrase “the ball doesn’t lie” when opponents miss free throws they received thanks to questionable whistles. The man once known as Metta World Peace once so successfully controlled a city that it resulted in a full-blown riot.

Ok, that last example is not exactly positive, but the heels bring chaos and not even they can predict what is to come. In ancient mythologies, the Trickster archetype sometimes brings with it the forces of creation…and sometimes nothing but destruction. There’s no denying that Green brought both with him in the playoffs, possibly to an unequal extent.

As The Guardian’s Andrew Lawrence wrote during that series against the Grizzlies: “There has been a lot of debate about who is the best remaining player in the NBA playoffs. But there is no doubt who is the most infuriating.” Green went on to put his stamp on Game 2 of the NBA Finals, rigging the system to escape an ejection that should have been while making enough not-quite-fair plays for Celtics fans to spend the entire game. 3 harassing him.

He ended up having the last laugh. After the Warriors beat the Celtics in six games, Green took to Twitter (Heel’s playground) to write the following: “Getting ready for Game 7 tonight… (lock emoji) inside!!! Happy father’s day.”

Getting ready for Game 7 tonight… 🔒in!!! Happy Father’s Day

— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) June 19, 2022


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

—Draymond Green (@Money23Green) June 19, 2022

I should have been infuriated, both as a grieving Celtics fan and as someone who missed the chance to live blog a Game 7. All I could do, though, was laugh. And then retweet it.

In an ideal world, each team would have a heel designated as Green to get inside the other’s team’s head, start and sustain fights, and provide audiences with an endless amount of free entertainment. Much like professional wrestling, except with mostly unscripted outcomes (give or take a Tim Donaghy or two), the NBA is big entertainment that focuses on super-sized personalities. There’s a reason the wrestling term “heel” quickly found its way into the basketball lexicon and there’s definitely a reason we sportswriters can’t stop using it to describe Green. Heck, he even owns his own custom-made WWE belt!

More than perhaps any of his teammates, Green has earned the right to upset 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.