Competitors. Champions. Frenemies. The unending troll battle between Draymond Green and Lebron James has become the sport’s goofiest sideshow.
In the NBA these days, the only thing players love more than winning championships is trolling their defeated brethren afterwards—or so it would seem, based on the seemingly-unending spate of glorious, elaborate, and gloating pranks perpetrated throughout the league over the past two years. Right now, though, no two men can top the antics of Lebron James and Draymond Green, who remain the league’s merriest pair of beefers by a healthy margin.
Last year, the day after snatching the Larry O’Brien trophy from the grasp of that 73-win Warriors team, Lebron stepped off the plane in Cleveland wearing an Ultimate Warrior t-shirt (get it?), spiritually driving a gigantic wine-and-gold stake through the hearts of Golden State fans everywhere. A subsequent Instagram post made clear that his headwear of choice—a baseball cap emblazoned with the “That’s none of my business” Kermit-sipping-tea meme—was no accident. The following Halloween, James doubled down, serving cookies at the team party that resembled miniature headstones for Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and the rest of the dearly departed Warriors. James had thrown down the gauntlet, making himself a contender for the Outrageous Roasting Hall of Fame.
Meanwhile, Draymond Green watched, waited, and absorbed every one of these details. And by the time the Warriors’ championship parade made its way through downtown Oakland this morning, he was ready with a carefully-curated outfit of his own:
DRAYMOND: Well, the Q, that’s what those guys’ arena is called. We got ’em out here quick, with the trophy. Quickie! … We got them made
in Cleveland. How about that?! …
DRAYMOND: I can’t forget the Ultimate Warrior shirt last year
from LeBron, and the 3-1 tombstone cookies, and all of that. I was
waiting on this minute. But definitely my guy. That’s family.
INTERVIEWER: You was waiting since Halloween to do this? That’s petty! You’re going to be petty in this moment?
DRAYMOND, GRINNING: I’m petty! I’ve been waiting for awhile just coming up with ideas. I had this crazy idea for a shirt and I waited
too long to try and get someone to draw it up. It was a bit much,
On the spectrum between good-natured ribbing and remorseless ethering, T-shirts and cookies are pretty benign stuff, and as Green alludes to, he and LeBron are close off the court. But what’s still so inspiring about this beef is the thought that each side has put into their respective salvos. LeBron James brought an Ultimate Warrior T-shirt all the way to Oakland for Game 7 last season, because if the Cavs pulled off the upset, he wanted to waste no time in unleashing the burns. Draymond, by his own admission, has been stewing and plotting ever since, and today, the only thing about which he’s probably disappointed is the fact that he didn’t get to debut this shirt in Cleveland like he hoped. (Also, I shudder to think what kind of shirt Draymond Green—an inveterate shit-talker who celebrated his team’s last title with a Cleveland-inspired rendition of E-40’s “Choices” that ended with him yelping “THEY SUCK? YUP!”on live TV—decided was “a bit much” after all.)
As if this weren’t enough, Green later took to Instagram to chime in on LeBron’s decision to finally surrender to his hairline and shave his head:
Advantage Green, but only for a moment, because LeBron James has earned his reputation as the best basketball player in the world for a reason: He can handle anything you throw at him.
To be fair, it’s now been more than six years since Michael Scott left Dunder Mifflin. But when a who’s who of the league’s best players weighs in so promptly and decisively in your favor, relying on a slightly-stale punchline is entirely forgivable.
This round is over. Draymond Green gets the ring, LeBron wins the roast battle, and I hope their teams face off in the Finals for the rest of their careers, because I never want this beef to go away.
Steph Curry: Good at H-O-R-S-E
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