Draymond Green and LeBron James write latest chapter in rivalry


The Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James wrote the next chapter in their ever-growing rivalry.

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers have the fiercest rivalry in the NBA. In fact, it’s really the only one worth mentioning when talking about today’s NBA. With two consecutive NBA Finals matchups, it’s hard to call it anything but a rivalry.

It’s an insult to both of these teams to deny that. The rivalry isn’t just some media fabrication to get clicks and attract viewers; it’s real. The players have more than gotten into it.

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Nearly every major player in this rivalry has engaged in some kind of talk. From Kyrie Irving to Stephen Curry, Iman Shumpert to Marreese Speights, and everyone in between, there’s been a lot of words that have been exchanged. Some playful, some more aggressive, all of it part of a genuine rivalry.

While pitting the two team’s biggest stars, Curry and LeBron James, against each other makes sense and sells a lot of product. But the best battle within the battle, the mini-rivalry that fuels the larger one, is the one between Draymond Green and James. Those two guys go at it.

The two no. 23’s have become a huge storyline heading into every matchup between the Warriors and the Cavaliers. Green and James love to use the media, but in very different ways. The Golden State star is direct, while the Cleveland MVP prefers a more passive aggressive approach.

At the Warriors’ championship parade in the summer of 2015, Green drunkenly jokingly told Rosalyn Gold-Onwude that “[the Cavaliers] suck.” Then in Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals, they really took this rivalry to the next level.

James and Green got tangled up just inside the half court line and the Cavaliers’ star tried to step over Green. The Saginaw native took exception to it and blindly and angrily swung his arms out and it just happened to be in the direction of James’ groin area. He hit James in the back and the two got in each other’s faces. Then, they battled down low for the rebound and, once again, exchanged pleasantries.

Green was, famously and controversially, was suspended after accumulating too many flagrant points. The Cavaliers won Game 5 then, despite Green’s best efforts, couldn’t stop James from winning Game 7. After the game, the Warrior went to the locker room, but returned to the floor to congratulate the 2016 Finals MVP.

The two teams met for another epic showdown on Christmas Day. Irving’s turnaround jumper sealed the deal and locked in the Cavs’ fourth consecutive win over the Warriors. But then the series shifted back to Oracle Arena on MLK Day.

Ahead of the game, James said that his Cavaliers don’t have a rival. He argued that despite the fact that his team has faced the Warriors in two consecutive Finals, it doesn’t mean that there’s a rivalry there. It was arrogant pettiness at its finest.

The two stars added to the ever-growing legend of this rivalry. In the first half of the Warriors’ rout of the Cavs, Green fouled James in transition. The Akron, Ohio native threw himself to the ground as the two teams came together. Green was assessed a flagrant foul and he and Richard Jefferson were both given offsetting technical fouls. James was boo’d everytime he touched the ball as the Warriors ran away with the game.

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After the game, Green said that it doesn’t matter what James says, it’s a rivalry. The Cavs’ forward, once again, denied it. Our own Eric He wrote that he’s trying to undermine Golden State, play a mental game in which he downplays his fear of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and, yes, Draymond Green.

The rivalry is growing, building up for a third NBA Finals matchup. These two teams have a high level of play, star power, and they don’t like each other. Green and James are in the middle of it.

This isn’t Bill Russell versus Wilt Chamberlain. It’s not Magic Johnson versus Larry Bird. Draymond Green versus LeBron James is its own entity and it’s so much fun to watch.