Discover more from The Sports Column
HOW MANY MORE SECONDS BEFORE DRAYMOND SUFFOCATES RUDY GOBERT?
Another vicious run of Green’s behavior should be met by a prolonged NBA suspension, with an asphyxiation of the Minnesota center bringing more serious questions about Golden State's aging lifespan
Can we use a handgun next? Or a long bloody knife? To hear Rudy Gobert, he was fairly close to unconsciousness when his throat was engulfed by the right arm of Draymond Green. We’ve watched the same menacer stomp on the chest of a Sacramento star. We’ve seen him kick LeBron James in the crown jewels. We’ve seen almost every imaginable evilness from Green and others in NBA games, to the point he cost the Golden State Warriors a fourth straight championship.
But strangling Gobert? Who merely was breaking up an altercation between Green’s teammate, Klay Thompson, and Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels? Nothing is comical about it. This is sick and psychotic stuff. This is borderline, call-the-cops scariness in an arena. This is Green, with teeth clenched wildly as Gobert’s eyes began to fade. How many more times will Draymond come close to drawing the attention of local authorities? Next time, he might be committed to a mental ward.
“He’s grabbing me, he’s grabbing me, he’s grabbing me. But the choke wasn’t good enough,” Gobert said of a grasp that lasted more than eight seconds Tuesday night. “Yeah, it wasn’t enough for me to really have to (go to sleep). But he tried. He tried really hard, but it wasn’t good enough to where I felt like I was really in danger of falling asleep or something like that.
“It was a long time, and if he knew how to choke, it could have been way worse. He tried to. His intention was to really take me out. And I kept my hands up the whole time just to show the officials I wasn’t trying to escalate the situation.”
The league will suspend Green, as it has numerous times before, and launch an early-season roll call to see if he’s tossed again for too many violations. But let me take the ramifications to another stairway. For 12 years, he has been in the league and has yet to show any effort toward changing his confrontational ways. I want to barf when I hear him or someone else suggest he’s a Hall of Fame player. Unlike Dennis Rodman, who at least was basketball’s greatest rebounder of any size or shape, Green is a dirty workologist, period. He is enabled by playing with Steph Curry and coached by Steve Kerr. He should not be remembered for anything but disgrace, with his near-suffocation of Gobert darting far past anything that should happen in the opening minutes of a mid-November game.
The latest mess started over the weekend, when Green was ejected Saturday after a conflict with Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell and was mean-spirited Sunday as he fouled Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards. “Get the f— out of here,” Green said as live microphones picked him up. “What are you gonna do about it?”
Two days passed before Green, seeing McDaniels and Thompson badgering, turned into a monster again. When Kerr tried to defend Green, a stance that is growing older than their time together as leader-and-instigator, Gobert laughed and said, “Deep inside, he (doesn’t) want to say it, but his guy is a clown.” NBA official Tyler Ford agreed in a pool report, saying, “Gobert was attempting to separate Thompson and McDaniels and was ruled to be a peacemaker.” Said Kerr, foolish again: “And then the Draymond piece, if you watch the replay, Rudy had his hands on Klay’s neck. And that’s why Draymond went after Rudy. I saw one replay right after it happened. The guys on the back of the bench were telling us that Rudy had Klay, and that’s why Draymond went at Rudy.”
At this point, NBA commissioner Adam Silver must be as disgustedly tired of Green as the rest of us. Last season, his practice punch of Jordan Poole led to nothing but a second-round postseason defeat. Poole was traded in the offseason and Green received — why? — a four-year, $100 million contract. Doesn’t Kerr, an otherwise smart human being, realize Green is counterproductive to his hopes of winning one more championship? Didn’t he prove it the other day with another woeful form of social media?
“I’m in year 12 and yall still telling me to stop being Draymond. Don’t get a tech … blah blah blah. 12 years later and yall still trying to coach me on how to be ME?” Green wrote. “I am better at being Draymond than ANYBODY!! Imagine if I told yall how to do your job. You’d look at me crazy … I thought yall should know how dumb you all look trying to tell me how to be me If yall had some advice for your own lives the world would be a much better place and you would be FAR better at your JOB than your mediocre outputs. Happy Sunday good people! Right back at it like an addict.”
He wasted valuable down time on such madness. If he’s an addict, he’s a thirtysomething abuser of humanity. “Clown behavior and I’m proud of myself for being the bigger man again and again,” Gobert said. “And yeah, (he) doesn’t even deserve me putting my hands on him. My team needed me tonight. I did whatever I could to keep my cool and then show that I wasn’t making the situation worse, and I do hope that the league is going to do what needs to be done because that’s just clown behavior.”
The Timberwolves won their seventh straight game. They are part of the new Western Conference, pushing the Warriors aside, toward play-in time. Anything less than a 10-game ban is beneath the commissioner. When Green was suspended by tromping on Domantas Sabonis last spring, executive vice president Joe Dumars declared it “excessive and over-the-top actions, conduct detrimental and a repeat offender.” What would he call this asphyxiation?
Other than a prolonged sitdown, a courtside homicide might be next.
Jay Mariotti, called “without question the most impacting Chicago sportswriter of the past quarter-century,’’ writes general sports columns for Substack while appearing on some of the 1,678,498 podcasts and shows in production today. He is an accomplished columnist, TV panelist and talk/podcast host. Living in Los Angeles, he gravitated by osmosis to film projects.