WASHINGTON – In June, the Golden State Warriors became just the second team in NBA history to win a title on the parquet floor of TD Garden.
Now, seven months later, the Warriors have been one day away from returning to Boston since that day.
“It was a beautiful thing,” Draymond Green told ESPN. “It’s not something they haven’t tried before. So I think it’s cool that they tried it from us. With Steph Curry doing what Steph Curry and the guy they chose to name the N-word do. It was beautiful.”
On a November podcast, Green said he was repeatedly called racial names during the three games in Boston during that series against the Celtics. And for the first time in his career, despite the trash talk boom, Green admitted the environment at TD Garden was hard to block.
He scored only two points each in Games 3 and 4, tallying negative 13 and zero in those games, respectively.
“You usually have situations where people talk crazy, but not everything,” Green told ESPN. “You’re going to have a situation where you’re going to be booed by a whole arena, but it’s not what the Boston fans were doing. So, it was just a different situation than I’ve ever seen it. It took me a while to adjust to it… It was very unexpected. It surprised me.” .
Throughout the 48 minutes of the game—which had already lasted three hours—Green said “f-k Draymond” chants, names like “b—h” and the N-word rained on him.
It took a few days for Green to wrap his head around what kind of environment he would have to sit in to finish the series and do it well.
“When you know what to expect, you can plan for it. I’ve been around for 11 years, so I thought I’d seen it all. But this, I’ve never seen,” Green told ESPN. “I guess with this one, there was no real way to prepare for it. Except I mentally know what you’re going into. When that happens I can tune in. But the first time around I couldn’t.”
Green has always thrived from hostile environments. Take the Warriors vs. Washington Wizards game Monday night as an example.
Throughout the second half, Green had the back and forth with two fans sitting in a row behind the scorer’s table at Capital One Arena.
According to Green, fans said to him, “You think you’re a Hall of Famer? I’d better never hear you say that again.”
But rather than agitating Green in a way that resulted in him getting a technical foul — he’s two techniques shy of a one-game suspension — or removing fans, Green said it was that interaction that fueled the Warriors of late. – Increase the game to win the game.
“I had none,” Green said. “I didn’t have anything. I couldn’t find it. I wasn’t about to find it. But yell to them. Two of them. They got me going.”
There is an appreciation for this kind of harmless banter. However, earlier this season, Green said a fan in Dallas constantly called him names, which led to Green telling the fan to “sit down, shut up and watch the game,” and subsequently being fined $25,000. In December, Green was escorted out of a Warriors game against the Milwaukee Bucks by a fan after a fan threatened Green.
An additional element Green has dealt with this season is the aftermath and comments about his altercation with Jordan Poole during training camp.
Ever since he punched Green Bowl, Green had heard comments yelling at him from the stands “all the time.” But to his ears, this is just more banter. It is easy for him to tune in to himself.
“If someone mentions it, I worry more about Jordan than myself,” Green told ESPN. “I’m always on high alert because I want to see how this festers in Jordan’s mind. What measures should I take in that moment to make sure it doesn’t affect him mentally.”
Green expects to hear about it in Boston. For him, there is no subject that Celtics fans would consider a taboo.
But this time, he’s ready for it. Dare to say a little excited.
“I will greet them with a nice smile,” Green told ESPN. “Like I did after we won the championship.”