Draymond: Podziemski “started clapping…I’m not sure I deserve a round of applause”
My fav part of the 36-minute Draymond Green presser that wasn’t really about Draymond? When he said that it was Brandin Podziemski who started clapping after Steve Kerr opened the film session by saying, “Welcome back,” I mean, are we blessed to have this rook on the Warriors or what?
Not to mention BP hitting that full-court heave for the GSW social team. He’s like my “Young 🐐” because I have literally filmed Stephen Curry literally a dozen times trying this pregame when the opponent chooses the opposite side, at both Oracle and Chase, and he’s never made it — although in the fake SI one downstairs apparently he told reporters he made two out of five.
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This kid is special. And yeah, I still got that insider-y article on him coming up. I’m probably going to wait another week-plus because his trainer Dustin Van Lieu is coming back into town and we’ll probably chat — sorry for my pushing that back all the time.
But this post is all about Draymond over the last few days and yesterday on the podium. Kerr also talked, but I want to save that for another article/editorial/transcript.
BEHIND-THE-SCENES JAN. 9TH
Check out Dray sprinting at the beginning of this one. There’s also snippets from inside the interview room. Austin Scott of KNBR joined us on a livechat discussion — I’ll probably rope this in with the forthcoming Kerr article — last night and told us it was packed in there with 30 to 40 media members included five TV cameramen (usually it’s just him and NBC Sports Bay Area), especially after head honcho John “JD” Dickinson confirmed with GSW PR that Green would indeed speak at Tuesday’s practice.
The entire podium Q&A is at the bottom of this post, as is the full transcript (sorry to make you scroll, but that’s probably the fastest way to find it).
Here are the timestamps from the above, in case it piques your interest:
0:00 Draymond running after practice
0:52 on the word “help”
3:06 took some time away at first
5:25 on the urgency to return
7:58 “be the best me”
9:46 on his teammates: “They know me”
12:00 no return date yet
13:30 appreciated NBA for “indefinite” label
15:02 on not being able to help his teammates
17:02 on his kids
17:38 on the narrative of hurting Steph’s prime
19:01 Kerr on Draymond: “Can’t be an explanation if it follows an apology”
20:54 on being “less inclined” to go with the Kuminga-Wiggins lineup anymore
21:42 on the looming trade deadline
22:17 on Steph’s burden
KERR ON DRAY ON RADIO JAN. 9TH
NBCSBA aggregated Kerr’s interview on 95.7: https://www.nbcsportsbayarea.com/nba/golden-state-warriors/draymond-green-steve-kerr-nba-suspension/1690094/
"I think Draymond knows his career is on the line. It really is," Kerr said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game's "Willard and Dibs." "Based on what's happened over the last year, based on the recent suspension, based on everything that's gone on -- I think he recognizes that it is different this time. This wasn't a suspension for getting too many technicals. This wasn't a suspension for one Flagrant foul. This was different.
"This really put him on notice. He's put himself on notice. That's what makes this different. And that's why his response has to be what it's got to be."
"I went to his house in [Los Angeles] the day he was suspended," Kerr said. "We were playing the Clippers that night. I went over and we had a very heartfelt, emotional two-hour conversation in his backyard. I won't really share what we discussed, but we have a very close relationship after 10 years of doing this together. We are extremely close.
"The whole thing at that point was he's got to get right. He has to get his mind right, his emotions right, and that's the most important thing. And we agreed that he had to handle himself and he had to handle everything on his own, at his own pace, whatever that meant. That's why, along with the league, it was an unspecified amount of time on the suspension."
"The agreement was I'll give you your space and you do what you have to do and we'll stay in touch," Kerr said. "When you're ready to come back, you come back. And that's how it was. And we didn't text every day but we texted a spoke a couple times during the suspension. I was busy trying to win games, he was busy handling his own stuff.
"And when I said we were giving him space and he was giving us ours, there was nothing cryptic about it at all. It was actually just genuine."
REINSTATEMENT JAN. 6TH
• Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has been reinstated following his suspension for striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkić on Dec. 12, 2023, it was announced today by Joe Dumars, Executive Vice President, Head of Basketball Operations. During the period of his suspension, which began on Dec. 14 and resulted in him missing 12 games, Green completed steps that demonstrated his commitment to conforming his conduct to standards expected of NBA players. He has engaged in meetings with a counselor and has met jointly on multiple occasions with representatives of the NBA, the Warriors, and the National Basketball Players Association, both of which will continue throughout the season. (NBA PR)
• After league’s reinstatement of Golden State’s Draymond Green, it is expected that he will need approximately a week to ramp up for a game return, sources tell ESPN. Green is expected to be with the Warriors on Sunday for the time since his suspension started in mid-December, sources said. (Adrian Wojnarowski)
• All sides have been pleased with Green’s progress through receiving help over his indefinite suspension from Dec. 14-Jan. 5. Regular check-ins among the parties are expected to continue even after Green returns to action soon. (Shams Charania)
• Draymond Green will rejoin the team on Sunday, but won't play against the Raptors. (Shayna Rubin)
PREGAME JAN. 7TH (TOR-GSW)
• Draymond Green is back with the Warriors. He was with them for their walkthrough pregame tonight. No word on how extensive his ramp up process will be. Practices, scrimmages ahead before Rick Celebrini clears Green for a return. Steve Kerr pregame: “He’s here. He looks good, He’s excited to be here.” (Anthony Slater, Austin Scott and GSW beatwriters)
DRAYMONDSHOW PODCAST JAN. 8TH
The following are the aggregated highlights of The Draymond Green Show, plus some reaction afterwards, such as from Kevin Durant postgame:
• Draymond releases podcast: “In sitting through those first days [of my suspension] and just listening, I heard so many people say, ‘He need help.’ ... My initial thought was, ‘He said that?’” (ClutchPoints) VIDEO: https://fxtwitter.com/clutchpoints/status/1744397465975972318
• There’s a lot in the Draymond podcast but one small thing that stood out to me was hearing he talked to Bob Myers twice a day on a friendship level during the early stages of his suspension. (Kerith Burke)
• “That date will be engrained in my mind for a while,” Green said on “The Draymond Green Show” episode that posted Monday. “… As I said then and I’ll say now, I was wrong. I was wrong regardless of what I was trying to do. Regardless, none of that matters. I was wrong. I accept my fault in that and I apologize.” (Duane Rankin)
• “I was wrong, went way too far,” Green said about the Gobert incident. “I am a guy who plays on the edge. I am a guy who walks right up to that line and I have no problem with admitting that I’ve walked over that line and for that I apologize. I apologize to my family as they have had to endure some things that as a leader of a family, you have to lead when it’s good, you have to lead when it’s bad.” (Duane Rankin)
• “Coach [Steve] Kerr came to visit me after shootaround... he cried, I cried because there's a bond there that seen it all... and he just said to me, 'I want you to end this the right way.'” (ClutchPoints)
• Green said he was “pissed off” over Durant saying "he wasn’t like that when I was around” and hoping Green “gets the help he needs”: “I started going into this deep dive, how this, how that, but then it’s like, wait a minute, what do you want the world to know about you? And so I sat with myself and thought about that. And I’m like, interestingly enough, the world still thinks I’m the same Draymond as I was in 2017. And the reality is, I’m not. I’m not even close to the same Draymond that I was in 2017, but I quite frankly haven’t allowed anyone in the world to see that growth, to see that change and I have had my reasons why… “If I can look at Kevin’s statement the right, through the right mindset, through the right lenses, he’s acknowledging essentially what I want the world to know about me. And when I went back through it with another lens, it’s like, maybe you shouldn’t hear help so negatively,” Green said. “Like, maybe you’re listening to the word, help, with the same mindset that the word help meant when you were 15 years old. So maybe you shouldn’t hear that negative so negatively and maybe he’s not saying that as negatively as you’re taking it. And even if he was, I made a decision in that moment I wasn’t going to take it that way.” His reflection on Durant’s comments was “a very proud moment” for him because it indicates he’s ready to grow as an individual: “I am one who celebrates small wins. I used to take wins for granted. I celebrate small wins.” (Duane Rankin)
• “I told him, ‘Adam, this is too much for me… This is too much. It’s all becoming too much for me — and I’m going to retire.’ And Adam said, ‘You’re making a very rash decision, and I won’t let you do that.’ We had a long, great conversation — very helpful to me. Very thankful to play in a league with a commissioner like Adam who’s more about helping you than hurting you; helping you than punishing you. He’s more about the players.” (Connor Letourneau)
• “Stephen A. was like, 'Steph [Curry] is a bad leader because Draymond did X.' It pissed me off, but it crushed me... [Steph] does everything the right way and yet he's being torn down because of my actions?” (ClutchPoints)
• Draymond shared an eye-opening moment with his 3-year-old daughter during a rough start to his suspension: “It was special because I was just sitting back there in the dark.” (NBCSBA)
• Durant meant no ill will, postgame PHX-LAC, HD videos: https://x.com/lawmurraythenu/status/1744607229024907677 https://x.com/duanerankin/status/1744624175271317995
• Draymond says he talked to Steph, Tom Izzo, LeBron and other close friends on a near-daily basis: “I’m so thankful to have those people in my life.” (Draymond Green Show)
• Reviewing Draymond’s podcast again and it’s awkward when he’s talking some real stuff about being afraid of therapy because of what could surface and then Colin Cowherd’s voices busts through with an alcohol ad. Seems like “every 15 mins” with no regard for the subject matter. It was the worst time in interrupt, Draymond was going deep. I would guess most people have their opinion about Draymond cemented by now, but I found the podcast thoughtful and apologetic in a way we haven’t heard before. Let’s see how he acts on it. (Kerith Burke)
• Boogie Cousins chimes in, defending Draymond, on BullyBall with Rachel Nichols: “Anybody that genuinely cares for Draymond [Green] and has love for him, would have told him the same thing (not to retire, as Adam Silver did)… I can only imagine the state of mind that Draymond is in. Obviously, he did some wild bulls--t that these are the consequences of his actions. I can understand why he got to that point mentally. This whole narrative has been spun out of control. The attack of his character, the attack of him as a human being -- the person -- taking him outside of the basketball court. And it's just completely unfair. It can become a lot. People say well he makes millions of dollars, well money doesn't take away your emotions. Money doesn't take away your feelings. Money doesn't stop you from bleeding, crying, being said, depressed, any of those things. So for that to be the number one excuse, it doesn't excuse anything. I'm glad Draymond could come back with a clear mind and get back to where he is, and hopefully helping the Warriors turn this season around.” (NBCSBA, ClutchPoints)
• Draymond Green signs multi-year partnership extension with The Volume. (VolumeSports)
DRAYMOND ON PODIUM JAN. 9TH
When your teammates and coaches talked about your suspension, most of them were talking about how they wanted to see you get right as a person, worry about the player later. All of them are really invested in making sure you connected to whatever help you needed. How would you describe the type of help you've accepted to be a better person?
DRAYMOND GREEN AFTER PRACTICE, DAY BEFORE NOP-GSW: “it's just about number one. knowing what it is, so many people throw around the word help, but what actually does that mean? And so for me, number one was just sitting down with myself and figuring out what that means. When you talk therapy and all these things, therapy only goes as far as you take it. When you sit in a therapy session, therapists probably talk 10-15 percent of the time, and you talk the other 85 or 90, so then what are you talking about? And for me, in knowing that and understanding that and then going into the process, It's first important to identify what exactly that is, and so many people can have their thoughts on what that means. But again, if if it's not something that you're up to, if it's not something that you believe, then you're wasting your time. One of the best things that happened to me during the process as soon as I got on the phone for a first initial he's like, ‘So what's this about? I see all the things in the news. I see everything everyone's saying. How do you feel? And what are you thinking? Because again, if you're here, if you're here just to satisfy some obligation or satisfy some public opinion, you're wasting my time and yours,’ and that was the most important thing for me that I could hear because that wasn't why I was there, and yet, one would think so. And so, that was a very important part of me starting, what has been the last four weeks or so, for me.”
How much basketball were you able to play or not play?
“I took some time away from everything. Like, I don't think I touched the ball for the first 10 days because it was the least important thing to me. I needed a break, just from everything. And one of the best things in the world for me was not waking up the next day like, ‘Alright, I gotta go get this workout in, I gotta go get a lift in, I gotta go do this.’ It was wonderful waking up, like, ‘Nope, I have an 8-month old, I have a 3-year-old, 7-year-old, a 9-year-old. It was wonderful waking up to them and being home when they wake up and indulging in that process. And so I didn't touch a basketball for the first 10 days. And then I started working again. then it felt good to get back in the gym. After I sat with some of my thoughts, going back after 10 days. It was refreshing to go get a workout in, but it didn't feel like a routine. It didn't feel like I was jumping right back into the revolving door if you will and just start back spinning. It was like, ‘No, I'm gonna go here today and I'm gonna get some shots up. I'm gonna go here today,’ and I just really want to get my body moving and get a sweat. It wasn't some routine or with some goal of getting back to the court. It was simply just, no, this is what I feel like I should go do today, or this is what I want to go do today. And like I said, that was therapeutic in itself. You never realize how stressful this job is until you no longer have that stress. And then it's like, whoa. And for me, I was going through this, going through my weeks and I was on one of my calls with the league, with the (NBPA) and Rich (Paul) and Rick (Celebrini) and Mike (Dunleavy). And then they started talking about like, all right, a return date and my body was like, ah, like it just immediately tensed up and I was like, whoa. That was interesting to me, because it also further confirmed for me what I had already been thinking about the time that I had off, and just sitting away from everything and like how relaxed I was with everything. And to just hear the word ‘return to play’ and like tense up immediately, it was just kind of a reminder, of like, okay, you're going to start discussing the return now. That's great. But you can't fall right back into the tense place. And that was such a great moment for me to have, because the last thing I would want is to come back and have that moment when I'm going on the court. And so to have that moment, the first time I heard the word ‘return’, I thought, was also a step for me in the right direction because, wow, you're able to process that right away like, as opposed to living through it and then it's like figuring it out after the fact.”
All that being said, you are returning to a 17-19 team that pretty clearly needs you. How close do you feel? And how urgent does this situation feel from just a professional?
“It's urgent from a professional standpoint because I wasn't hurt, at least my body wasn't hurt. My mind was hurt. My feelings was hurt. but yeah, it wasn't like some injury caused me off the floor. So it's very urgent because I've cost my team enough. I've cost this organization enough, and so, it's not a time for me to just come back and be like, ‘All right, I'm going to take my time and get back when I can.’ No, like you caused this yourself. And so you don't get the grace. And although I'm very appreciative of our organization, number one for the support, but number two, they're putting the plan together at ramp up. If it was up to me, I would love to come back and play right now. Reality is, it's probably not the best thing for me, or the best thing from an organizational standpoint, and what that looks like moving forward, and the risk of injury and all those things. But, there's a human component to this as well. And you sit home and you watch these games and as a competitor, you want to help. And then returning, it's funny. Coach said, ‘Welcome back,’ in film yesterday, BP started clapping, and they start, and everybody start clapping. I'm like, well, I'm not sure I deserve a round of applause. But I'll take it. But, it's like, half-joking. But you don't just get grace and I'll take my time and get back when I can. Like I'm coming back from a suspension, not an injury. And so there's a huge sense of urgency and I pushed it like crazy today and I'm gonna push it like crazy every day until I can get back on the floor. Because it's also important for these guys to know and understand that, I'm not approaching this like I'mma just take my time and get back when I can. I'mma do all that I can to meet the requirements that I have to meet, with our performance group in order to get back on the court. And I'm trying to do that as fast as I can. Whatever work that requires, that's what I'mma do.”
Do you believe you've acquired some skills with the work you've been doing to handle yourself when emotions run sky high and it's a tense moment on the court? So that you don't cross a line or whatever the referees think is crossing a line, whatever it is. How do you control those emotions the next time? And are you finding some ways and some techniques to do so?
“Number one it's about, first off, understanding your emotions, understanding those moments. My goal is not to come back and worry about crossing the line. Because I still have to come back and play the game the way I know how to play the game and be the best me that I can be for my team to help give my team a chance to win. As far as not crossing the line with a referee, yes, that's a big point of emphasis for me. And knowing and understanding where that line is. But I didn't make it to this point worried about touching the line. I didn't help this team and this organization become what we've become by worrying about crossing the line. And so, throughout my time away, you kind of go through all, like, work through all these thoughts, right? And if you were to talk to me two and a half weeks ago, I'm like, I'm not crossing the line. I'm not doing this. I'm not doing that. But as you continue to do work and put the work in and as time go by, for me, it's about developing a practice, developing a routine, and one of the best things about that is it hasn't been just on me to develop that. I've had support from this organization, support from the league, and developing what those things look like and that's what I plan to do. I'm not going to sit here and tell you like, yes, I know everything because you don't know what you do until you're in a moment. But going into anything, you can only best prepare yourself for what moments you may face and then you'll be put to the test. And. my goal isn't to try to say, ‘Oh man, I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that. And this is how it's going to look like.’ You don't know that until – I'll be sitting here lying to you if I said this is how it's going to look and this is the process. That's not real. but what is real is preparing yourself and doing a lot of self work so that when you are in these moments. you know where you can turn to. It's just like anything else. If I catch the ball on the wing in that moment, I prepared myself to shoot that ball, right? It's no different. You do the work. and then when those moments present themselves, you lean on your preparation.”
You've said in the past and even in recent weeks that a certain mindset has gotten you to this point, since you were 15 and Saginaw has gotten you from when you were in the second round pick. What's the journey been like knowing that that's been your mindset and then finding out that's not sustainable at this point in your life and then trying to figure out another way in real time?
“I don't think it's not sustainable. you don't make it to this point if it wasn't sustainable. But like, let's face it, like, antics isn't something that got me here. And so, when I look back on these situations, it's like, can't you remove the antics? I'm very confident I can remove the antics. And I'm very confident if I do remove the antics, no one's worried about how I play the game of basketball. Nobody's worried about how I carry myself in the game of basketball, but it's the antics. And so that's my focus, it's not on changing who I am completely. You don't change the spots on the leopard. It's just not gonna happen and I'm not going to try to set some unrealistic expectation of who this person gonna be like. It's not real and that's not sustainable. I've always said before, I know how to be me a lot better than I can be anyone else. But in saying that, can I accept the fact that my antics has been over the top? Of course. Can I remove those? Am I capable of removing those? Of course. And without that, then I don't think there is much of an issue, but it's the antics that can go. And I've made a commitment to do things to make sure that those don't creep in.”
Speaking of those antics, throughout those times, the front office, Steve Kerr, they've all stuck by you, publicly, and even privately, Steph as well, in a way that maybe other organizations maybe haven't stood by other players. What do you think that says about your relationship with this team and this front office and this organization?
“Number one, as I said before in my podcast, they know me. they know the person, not just the basketball player. and their support is not something that I take for granted. And I've had my shortcomings and my failures and where I've fallen extremely short of upholding my end of the bargain. But I am also a firm believer in reciprocity. And to Steph, to them, whoever, Coach, front office, this organization, I give my all to, as a person, as a basketball player, in these personal relationships, I reciprocate that. Now, I've had issues that I can admit haven’t been the best and they've had to stick with me through and I'm very appreciative of that. I don't take that for granted one bit, but I can only show that appreciation through my play and as I continue to move forward and show the growth that I've experienced over the last few weeks, which is just the beginning. Like I said, I'm not gonna come up here and be like, ‘Aw, man, it's been three and a half weeks, so, like, here we go.’ Like, that's not real. But what I know, over these three and a half weeks, I have grown some and started a path to further grow. And dedicated myself. to that path. And so, ultimately, you just want the opportunity to show them that. and that's the best way I can sit here and say thank you a million times till I'm blue in the face. I do thank them. But ultimately what shows that appreciation is my growth moving forward. And that's what I plan on doing.”
We've had a couple of these press conferences with you either right after an incident or after your time away, and you're always clear of when you want to apologize and when you don't wanna apologize. So after the league decides, ‘Hey, this is an indefinite suspension and it's not a normal clear-cut suspension, how was it to buy in to that indefinite suspension and the steps that you did have to take. You were just talking about therapy and really self-reflection, was that an easy thing for you to open yourself up to or did it take some time?
“It was a very easy thing for me to open myself up to from a personal standpoint because, I said, I needed the time. I needed to regather myself, to recenter myself, to recalibrate, to take a step back. It's hard to see things when you're just in it, and every day you're in this thing. It's hard to sometimes see what's necessary to see. And so from that standpoint, it was very easy to accept. Fortunately and unfortunately, I play a team sport. And so when you look at what that does to the team, that's a very tough thing to accept. Because, ultimately, you're letting so many people down, like it's, by the way, it's not just my teammates. There's a lot of people, jobs, riding on the success that we have as players. And so, most of those people, all of those people don't make the money we make. And so it's even more dire, right? And so for me to let all of those people down, obviously, my teammates, that goes without saying, my coaches. But it goes so far beyond that. The reality is, if Steve was fired today, he'll be fine. Like, If I was cut today or something, I'll be fine. But that's not the case for all the people that pour into us so that you can then see that product on the floor at 7pm on a given night, on Wednesday night. Oh, not this Wednesday (tipoff of Pelicans vs Warriors is 530pm). But yeah, so there's so many people, livelihoods riding on that. And I know I am a key to that success. So, when you sit back, it's like, alright, yeah, you do need the time, but, like, don't lose sight of the people you're screwing along the way. And so accepting what the league handed down was the easy part from a personal standpoint, but from a team standpoint, from an organizational standpoint, I care about people. And so just to know the people I'm screwing along the way, that part sucks. And by the way, that feeling didn't go away. Like, that's currently still here. And so the only way that I can be better and make that right is to be better moving forward.”
Did you have those thoughts though? Because just maybe three weeks before this suspension, you were suspended for five games. Was there a similar thought process of like, I'm screwing over all these people for that? Or was it because the league was like, ‘Hey, we need you really to have that time to have dedicated reflection?
“No, I didn't quite have those thoughts during the five-game suspension. And I also don't think it was because the league was like, ‘Hey, you need time to reflect.’ Because it's not necessarily a time thing, but when it is indefinite, you don't know what that means either. And so that could be who knows what. It's indefinite. But like I said before, having the time allows you to process those thoughts. And I'm also appreciative to the league for the indefinite suspension. You know why? Because it was no goal to return. It was no, “All right, I'm gonna work and get through these five games, so as soon as the five games is up, I'm back.’ A part of the indefinite and returning was being in a better space. And so, to allow my mind to process what it looks like in getting in a better space, you're able to then sit with those thoughts. But to sit for five games, I'm targeting the return date. There was no target until two days before it was announced to you all that the ban would be lifted. There was no target the entire time. And when there is no target like that, it allowed me to process all these things. It allowed me to not have the stress and the plan of working towards a return. It allowed me to come to some realizations that I needed and wanted to come to. And so, that's more so for me than anything.”
Your transparency throughout this entire process has been unprecedented. We've not really seen this from any athlete. And in all the things that you've said, you could look at your message and say it could be to the youth in Saginaw. It could be to your son one day. It could be to the fans. It could be to your team. When you look at the way that you've allowed us to get the peek behind the curtain, as you've mentioned, what's inspiring that? What relationships are you thinking about when you allow us into this process for you?
“Several. Number one is my family, my friends, those close to me. Going through this, you realize how many people is affected, just through the whole process. And so, that's a big deal. I have children. And you want to make sure they see the right thing. And because parenting is all built and based on trial and error, some mixture of what my parents showed me that I thought was great and what I didn't necessarily think was so great. I'm going to try to do this right. There's no guide, there's no handbook. Maybe there are some handbooks out there, but I ain't never read one. Because even if it taught me something about my nine-year-old, my three-year-old is totally different. So, in understanding that, there's no guide, there's no handbook, I also understand that they've been put in a position to have to deal with some things as well. And so if you put someone in a position to have to deal with things, and it's not just my kids, but as far as my kids do, go, if you've let them see you F up, then you gotta let them see you make it right. You gotta let them see your growth. You gotta let them see you take ownership. You can't just run and hide. And although throughout my time I wanted to run and hide, as I told you, I considered retiring. That's running and hiding. Regardless of what drive those feelings that would be in that situation, (it’s) running and hiding. Because guess what? You're not really leaving on your terms. You're running from something. And then you start talking about youth and not youth, adults – adults struggle with accountability. I know I do sometimes. Maybe y'all don't, but I definitely struggle with accountability sometimes. And I've never been a ‘me’ guy. It's not all about me. And so, in a situation like this, can I help someone else grow? If I help one person grow, incredible. Great. because that leads us all to a better place. If I can help one person grow from my shortcomings, from my failures, you want people to love when you're doing something great, right? You want people to go crazy when you're doing something great and you want to feel that love? Well, like, don't run from it when it ain't so great. My goal is that a lot of people can learn from it. And yet, my goal is, most importantly, is to grow. And If I can show growth in the position, there's a responsibility that comes with the positions that we're in. And I've always been one to say, ‘That's your business. It ain't really my business.’ But the reality is, there is a responsibility. And to whom much is given, much is required. And so allowing the world to see that there's growth out there for everyone. And your growth may not be the growth that I need. But it's all relative, and so, open and sliding the curtain back and let everybody take a peek. I let everybody take a peek when it wasn't right, it's on full display in front of the world. So, don't try to hide now, there's a stage for you to allow people to see growth. And because I'm so dedicated to growing, I don't mind you taking a peek. Because I know, ultimately, what I want the result to be in the end. And I'll probably mess up along the way. And that's all a part of growing. Like, there's no linear path to growing. If you find a straight line to anything, come holla at me as fast as it tear back down. That's just not the reality. And so, I've always been quite an open book. Why start running now?”
You said, ‘I've cost my team enough.’ You've played with Steph your whole career. One of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen. How concerned are you that you may have cost him some of these moments of his prime?
“I don't necessarily look at it as costing him some moments of his prime because we're all in this together, right? If one of us fail, we're all failing. It's a team sport. For me personally, I care more about the person. How am I affecting the person? I can care less about a prime if I'm honest, because I don't see his prime coming to an end no time soon. But how are you affecting the person that care about you? I spoke about the Stephen A. incident on my podcast. That's something he gotta live with, you know? Forcing him to carry more weight than he necessarily would have to carry. What effect does that have on him? Even more so from a basketball standpoint, it matters more to me how I affect the person. Now, as far as this team goes, definitely affected this team in a negative way. But it can be repaired. We're still, what, 36 games into an 82-game season? There's a chance to make it right. And that's my goal, and that's my focus. And in doing that, it helps Steph, it helps all of us. But I don't necessarily look at it from a daily basis of like, ‘Ah, I affected his prime.’ I affected the person. And like the person, that includes the prime, that includes all this thing, but to single out one part, I actually think is selfish of me. To be like, ‘Ah, I'm affecting him this way.’ No, like how are you affecting his mind also? How are you affecting how he show up to work and what that looks like on a daily basis? There's so much more to this game, because we're actual human beings playing this game. That gets lost. That gets lost so often. That's a real person that's dealing with these things and these things can be heavy. And so I'm more so worried about how I affected the person. Maybe I'm wrong for looking at it that way and not thinking about it from how I affected his prime, but I still worry more about how I'm affecting the overall person than just one specific thing.”
First of all, to be clear, you do not have a return date as of yet?
“No, not yet, but I'm pushing to make that as soon as possible. As soon as I get the go, I know our performance staff have put a plan together. As soon as I get the ‘go’, I'll be ready to go. But that ‘go’ is also Kerr’s. Like I said before, you don't just get to walk back in like when you aren't walking in. Like, that goal is also Steph. Like, that goal is the guys in the locker room. The league was one thing. But it's so much bigger than that. owe a lot to these guys. And so the ‘go’ is also on them. That's not just up to me. I don't necessarily view it that way when I get the ‘go’ from our staff, our performance staff, our coaching staff, our guys. That's all a part of it. It's not just on me.”
And where's your conditioning level?
I'm in pretty good condition, but it's so much more than that, reintegrating yourself into the team. I didn't see these guys for the whole time. And that was very intentional. But that's all a part of it.”
And lastly, what did you miss the most during your time away? And what did it feel like driving up to the arena, walking in, coming back to work?
“What you miss the most is, I sit and I watch our games, and what you miss the most is just being able to be there for the guys, like, ‘Man, it's hard to win NBA games.’ We've had times where we've made it look easy. It's hard as hell to win an NBA game, so when you see guys struggling, you just want to help. But in the same breath, I wasn't sitting there like, ‘Ah, I need to get back, I can change this.’ That was the whole point of not being here. I didn't think guys needed to hear my voice, but yet if I see something, I'm going to try to help. And I just thought that was wrong, especially with no return date. Just to be around the guys and like, working out and open-endedly practicing and work. I just didn't think that was right. I didn't think it was right for, them to even have the uncertainty. It's almost like you're out of sight, you're out of mind. And it don't quite always happen that way in our sport because it's a win or lose sport. When the wins are piling up, everybody's great. When you're losing, everything feels like it's falling apart. Because that's what it's all based off of. And so, I just didn't think that they should be susceptible to more than I had already kind of made them have to face. And seeing me every day was one of those things. And so I would just say being with the guys like the camaraderie, so fortunate that we haven't had the season that we've all thought we would be having up until this point. Because it's a great group of guys that really enjoy being around each other and hasn't always been the case. And so I missed that more than anything, but I wasn't just missing playing because playing wasn't on my mind. If playing was on my mind, then I would have been doing myself a disservice and everyone else around me a disservice. So that wasn't really my focus. My focus was my path, my growth, the things that I want to do, my family. and making sure that whenever that day came, if it did come, that I return to this team, that I was in a better space and able to provide for them what I need to provide. And I'm in a great space, but just being able to help the guys.”
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