SAN FRANCISCO -- Draymond Green believes that he’s the NBA’s best at playing defense.
Except on Twitter. There, he plays offense.
This explains why, on Friday night between Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals, the Golden State forward opened up his Twitter page and let the 1.7 million people who follow him there know what he was thinking.
“Let me guess…. Go to the gym Draymond you suck? I’ve been there already! How about Go watch film y’all Took an L? did that last night and today and will watch more later… SHUT UP!!” he wrote, followed by four crying-laughing emojis.
Thing is, he wasn’t really responding to anyone. He didn’t quote-tweet somebody’s hot take or reply to somebody who directed a comment his way. Green simply presumed that complaints were out there after he struggled and the Warriors lost Game 1 of the title series to the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.
“To be honest with you, I don’t really read my Twitter, so I was just saying stuff that I know people would say,” Green said Saturday. “I don’t really read people’s tweets. If I’m going to tweet, sometimes you may go to Twitter and see a couple things, but I didn’t read anything. I just know how people are. I know what trolls do, and those are the things that they would say.”
NBA Twitter isn’t a village, but closer to a metropolis these days. LeBron James has 51.4 million followers by himself, the league account has 37.5 million, and the league generated 5 billion views — 32% more than last year at this time — across its social platforms just through the first three playoff rounds this season.
And Green is one of the few players — Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant is famously another — who will engage with those complaining about him, disagreeing with him or just trying to be a troll.
“It’s the world we live in — clickbait headlines, who can get the most views, who can say the most outlandish thing,” Green said. “That’s just the world we live in. That’s what makes this sport what it is, though.”
Warriors guard Stephen Curry has roughly 10 times the Twitter following that Green has, though tends to use his platform in a different way. Through Saturday, Curry’s only tweet in the span of about three weeks was a retweet of Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s emotional plea for change following a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last month.
Curry acknowledged that there are some instances where criticism can be inspiring. But he also indicated that he doesn’t run to the comments after a loss seeking fuel to motivate him for the next game.
“Never really gets to me as much in terms of it changing anything other than expectations that I have for myself out there on the court, or again, the standard that I set for myself in terms of how I’m supposed to play,” Curry said. “At the end of the day, it’s just about winning the basketball game. If we go out there and do that on Sunday, I’m sure whatever the noise is will be a little bit more favorable for us.”
Green doesn’t just use Twitter to let his thoughts be known. He’s a podcaster and signed a deal earlier this year to be an analyst for Turner Sports, even while remaining an active player.
Here’s a little secret: Green might often disagree with the trolls, or what he imagines they're saying, but he doesn’t mind them out there making noise. Deep down, he views it all as a compliment.
“There will always be noise, but there’s only noise when you’re great,” Green said. “There’s only noise when someone wants to hear that noise. Nobody’s talking about some of these teams that are at home that didn’t make the playoffs. There is no noise. No one cares.”
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