Championship parades are among the happiest experiences athletes can have, except that Draymond Green is never so happy as when he’s getting under a rival’s skin. So, for the second straight year, the Warriors forward combined two things that bring him joy by appearing at Golden State’s NBA title celebration Tuesday in a T-shirt that took gleeful aim at LeBron James.
Last year, after the Warriors dispatched James’s Cavaliers in five games to reclaim their crown from Cleveland, Green wore a short that used the ‘Q’ logo from Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena to start the word “Quickie.” The idea was to emphasize that the Cavs’ stay at the top was short-lived. This year, Green got even more creative — and cutting — with a variation of the “Arthur’s Fist” meme James famously posted in November, which many took at the time as an indication that he was frustrated with his team.
Rather than expressing anger or exasperation, though, Green’s version took smug satisfaction in his role in helping the Warriors win three titles in the past four years, all at the expense of the Cavs. This time, the familiar fist was adorned with three championship rings, all the better to convey a mood happily at odds with the one James seemingly wanted to express early in the season.
That is a solid troll job, but in fairness, as Green explained last year, James started it. Following Cleveland’s upset of Golden State in the 2016 Finals, James was spotted exiting his team’s flight home in a T-shirt that ostensibly paid homage to the former WWE wrestler The Ultimate Warrior.
James explained at the time that it was the only clean shirt he had left, but Green clearly wasn’t buying it, especially after James then adorned a team Halloween party he hosted with jokes at the Warriors’ expense. In any event, Green wasn’t content Tuesday to take a shot at just one member of the Cavaliers.
During the parade, Green said he and Tristan Thompson, the Cleveland forward who was ejected from Game 1 of the Finals for shoving a ball into the former’s face, weren’t “cut from the same cloth.” As he was leaving the court, Thompson appeared to gesture at Green to meet him outside, and the Golden State star told reporters the next day, “I can meet him in the streets any day.”
When the series ended after Game 4, in a sweep by the Warriors, Green refused to shake Thompson’s hand as the teams moved past each other, and he said Tuesday: “A lot of guys in this league, they soft. … I told one of them dudes from the Cavs after the game, he tried to shake my hand, I said ‘Tristan, we ain’t cut the same.’ ”
Green wasn’t the only member of the Warriors taking shots Tuesday, or at least doing shots, well, long pulls from a bottle of Hennessy. Golden State rookie Jordan Bell began the day bemoaning on Twitter that he “left the Henny at home,” but after brandishing an empty bottle while on a float, he found someone in the Oakland crowd able to satisfy his craving.
Then there was Nick Young, who, after winning his first NBA title in as many seasons with the Warriors, declared that he would no longer be known as “Swaggy P” but as the “Swag Champ.” He also got a shout-out from J.R. Smith for disembarking Golden State’s post-Game 4 flight without a shirt on, and he kept up the tribute to his Cleveland counterpart Tuesday. In fact, Young jubilantly declared while celebrating with an equally garment-averse JaVale McGee, “All summer ’18 is shirtless.”
Elsewhere during the parade, Stephen Curry broke free from security personnel to run toward the crowd and get sprayed with champagne, while Kevin Durant appeared to have great difficulty popping a bottle of bubbly. Meanwhile, all James could do was watch from home, but at least he could do so in the knowledge that, at least as far as Green was concerned, he was not forgotten.
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