Draymond Green has evolved into one of the most interesting personalities in the NBA, and perhaps all of sports -- the vocal leader and emotional engine for one of the most compelling NBA teams in recent memory.
Green has agreed to give Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated an exclusive look into his life on and off the court, via a playoff diary that Green hopes will end with a second straight NBA championship for the Golden State Warriors.
Diary entry No. 10: May 12, 2016
Draymond Green is in his home in Berkeley, California. He is watching as the third-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder beat the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs 113-99 to win a best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series 4-2.
"OKC did what they had to do to win the series. When you're looking at the series and see the Spurs' Game 1 blowout, you're definitely not thinking, 'Oh, this is going to be over in six and I see OKC winning.' But you're also not just going to throw OKC out after Game 1 and say, 'Oh, they have no chance of winning this series.' The way the Thunder bounced back says a lot about them, a lot about the character of the team, and a lot about the will and leadership from KD [Kevin Durant] and Russ [Russell Westbrook].
"If this is it for Tim Duncan, he has meant a lot to the game, the way he has carried himself and what he has done for the Spurs for a number of years. He is the centerpiece of the golden standard in the NBA. When you talk about the NBA and consistency, the Spurs are the golden standard for that, and he has been the centerpiece of all of that. He has done some tremendous things for the game and he's arguably the greatest power forward of all time.
"I do have a Tim Duncan story. My rookie year I kind of talked junk to everybody. In the middle of the game I started talking to Tim, and I had already got into it with somebody on their team. I don't remember who it was. But I started talking to Tim and he kind of just stared at me. I just kept talking junk to him and he kept staring at me.
"At that point I realized during the rest of my career that I might as well not talk to him. Either, one, he is not going to talk back because he has no respect for me. Or, two, he is not going to talk back because that is who he is. Or, three, both. I figured then that was the last time I would talk junk to Tim. And that was the last time."
The top-seeded Warriors will have four days off before they play host to the Thunder in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Monday.
"The Thunder are a very, very good team. Very tough. A lot of talent. They don't have a team full of experienced guys. But they have guys who have been there before. Russ, KD and Serge [Ibaka] have been to the Finals before and they know what this stage is about. It will be a very tough series, but one that, if we play well and do what we got to do -- and I know our coaching staff will come up with a good game plan -- and if we stick to the game plan, I think we should be fine, as long as we play our type of ball.
"But in saying that, this is a team that makes it tough to do that. We have to make sure we come out on key and lock in from the beginning of the series. And this is a series where every game you have to be at your best.
"KD and Russ are very dangerous. They are two of the best scorers in the league. It's been that way for quite a while now. Russell is one of the most intense players in the league. Those guys try to follow his energy and follow KD's scoring. One of the best one-two punches in the league, for sure, who are known to carry their team."
Green has been playing on a tweaked left ankle the past few games and is hoping the rest will be of benefit.
"My ankle is fine. A little sore, but it feels a whole lot better than it felt Wednesday night. I will just continue to get treatment, stay in the gym and get ready for Monday. But my ankle feels fine and it's playoff time. It is what it is at this point.
"This time off is good for us physically, for sure. But it's good mentally, as well. So much goes into a playoff series mentally -- that alone can fatigue you. Having four days off, it allows you to mentally recharge. Take a day away from the game and then begin locking in on OKC."
Green is one of 10 finalists for the 2015-16 NBA Cares Community Assist Award for outstanding efforts in the community and ongoing philanthropic and charitable work. Voting on social media ends Monday.
"I've always lived by the motto, 'If you're not helping anyone else, what is your purpose in life or what are you really doing?' It's important to help others. Nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than putting a smile on someone else's. Being in the position we are in, we are blessed to make lots of money playing basketball. Sometimes it's not just about money. Sometimes it's about time."