National Basketball Association

Rival Turned Idol?

June 23

Draymond Green has never been one to mince words.

And now, the Golden State Warriors forward and 3-time NBA champion has offered his opinion on the GOAT debate – or, he's at least let his opinion slip.

On ESPN's First Take Tuesday morning, Green shared why he thinks James is arguably the best player of all-time, and it's not all about his on-court abilities.

"I think LeBron yields a lot of power, as he should. Arguably the greatest player of all-time, you look at his resume – it's flawless on and off the court. The things that he has been able to do on the court obviously are spectacular. But it's more important the things that he has been able to accomplish off the court, and that's where he gets the utmost respect from me. It's not about what he has done on the basketball court ... Hopefully, he will run for president one day."

Green and James have a unique NBA past, but there might not be a player more qualified to speak on the greatness of James than Green, considering they have faced off in the Finals four times, with Green holding a 3-1 advantage over James in the NBA's championship round.

Green's lone loss to James came in the 2016 Finals, when LeBron and the Cavaliers broke the city of Cleveland's 52-year title drought by overcoming a 3-1 deficit against the 73-9 Warriors.

The victory came on the heels of Green being suspended for Game 5 for reaching the limit for technical fouls in a postseason after hitting James in the groin in Game 4.

On top of the groin shot, Green reportedly called James a "b****."

 However, those tense title moments appear to be water under the bridge, as James and Green's relationship has continued to flourish off the court in recent years.

The two share the same agent, Rich Paul, a longtime friend and colleague of James', under Klutch Sports. Green signed with Klutch in February of 2019 and Marcus Thomspon of The Athletic gave his opinion on why the 2016-2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year might have made the switch.

"Green could simply prefer Klutch’s aggressive approach and increased clout on his behalf when this is all figured out at some point over the next year and a half. Undoubtedly, Green landing on the Lakers, in their division, is something the Warriors would have to contemplate should they decide not to re-up with him. One source said Green’s primary desire to switch agents is largely about being impressed with what Klutch, specifically, is building and what LeBron’s camp is doing as a whole."

And before Green signed to Klutch Sports, he was already making appearances on James' Uninterrupted series The Shop in 2017.

Friendship aside, when it comes to resumes, Green might have a point, considering James has put together one of the most impressive in NBA history – and it's still building.

Alongside his three championships, three NBA Finals MVPs, four regular season MVPs and 16 All-Star Game appearances, James is the youngest player in league history to reach 10,000, 20,000, and 30,000 points. He is tied with Kobe Bryant, Kareem Adbul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan for the most All-NBA selections at 15.

He stands alone with the most first-team selections at 12, and will presumably earn No. 13 at the conclusion of this season, considering he's leading the league in assists (10.6) and is firmly in the regular season MVP race.

And the list of accolades doesn't remotely stop there.

James has a one of a kind NBA postseason resume, even if he doesn't have more rings than Bill Russell's 11, or Jordan's pristine 6-0 Finals record.

In 2018, James completed his eighth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals, only three fewer than Russell's all-time mark of 11.

He's also the only player in NBA history to take two separate franchises to the NBA Finals four times or more, having taken the Miami Heat to the Finals four consecutive seasons from 2011-2014, and the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Finals in 2007 and then again from 2015-2018.

And in the 2017 postseason, James surpassed Jordan to become the league's all-time leader in playoff points, a mark he continued to add to in the 2018 postseason.

James also has the most career playoff buzzer-beaters of any single player with five.

Whatever his reasoning may be, Green – one James' greatest rivals – has now hinted what side he is on in the GOAT debate.

All hail the King.


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