OAKLAND – They are villains. They are idolized. They are the NBA’s most beloved team. They are its most hated.
Such polarization is befitting of forward Draymond Green, who with some notably rugged play during the 2015 playoffs grew into one of the most revered/detested players in the league.
You worship him if he’s on your team. And if he’s not, well, you’re likely to shower him with insults – for which he is prepared.
“We’re not going to go out here and say, ‘Oh, we’re embracing this villain thing, and it’s great.’ Who cares what somebody’s trying to make us out to be?” Green said after practice Wednesday. “We’re trying to win basketball games. If they want to make us the villain, that’s fine. They’re going to boo us anyway, everywhere we go. So that’s fine.
“The most fun I have in this game is going on another team’s floor and quieting their crowd. So boo. Eventually you’ll shut up. And I’ll laugh. And we’ll laugh. And we’ll keep it moving.”
The Warriors, led by MVP Stephen Curry and fellow All-Stars Klay Thompson and Green, were the NBA’s biggest attraction last season, selling out games even in places, like Philadelphia, that usually have plenty of vacant seats.
Indeed, it was not uncommon to see Warriors gear being worn by a quarter of the fans in certain arenas.
The genesis of the team’s increased polarization is the acquisition of Kevin Durant. The league’s prized free agent, a four-time scoring champion and former MVP, chose to leave Oklahoma City and join the Warriors – five weeks after they overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.
With Green and Durant being targeted, the Warriors expect to hear earfuls of indignation.
“There are some arenas we go to, and it’s like we’re a home team,” said Green, whose postseason flagrant fouls count led to him being suspended for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. “But at the same time . . . I got booed, along with KD, along with Klay, in the United States – with USA jerseys on. I mean, Jesus Christ, give it a break.
“I just don’t understand some people. Even if I hate you and whatever team you play for, if you’re going to wear a USA jersey and represent my country, for one day, I can give it up and say I’m going to cheer for this guy. They booed us, still.
"If they’re boo us with a USA jersey on, I can only imagine how it’s going to be with a Warriors jersey. So, more power to those people. They’re angry about something in life, and I’m not sure what it is.”