Three time NBA Champion, Draymond Green has gone up against a lot of top NBA players over the course of his nine-year-long career. The Golden State Warriors man has seen the rise and fall of some of the NBA legends and future Hall of Famers but according to him only Kobe Bryant and Grant Hill had the ability to star-struck him when he joined the league as a rookie.
The 30-year-old power forward shared how he had a soft corner for these two legends when he joined the league as a 22-year-old in his rookie season. He was awestruck by the first time he played against Kobe but had a soft spot for Hill because of his Michigan connection.
“The thing that stood out to me the first time I played against Kobe, I think I’ve told this story before, but when I came into the NBA I was starstruck by two guys: One was Kobe and the other was Grant Hill,” he said to the reporters on Monday after the Warriors defeated the Lakers.
“I grew up in Michigan watching Grant Hill play the Pistons with the turquoise and maroon jerseys, teal, whatever it was, and Grant Hill was amazing.
“So I was starstruck by Grant Hill and Kobe.”
Hill was way past his prime as he was already 40 years old at that time, playing his final season when Green joined the NBA as a rookie. Even when the Golden State Warriors played the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2012-13 season, Hill was not active so he missed his opportunity to play against the 6-time NBA All Star.
But Kobe Bryant was 34-year old and still running strong for the Lakers during Green’s rookie year. The Mamba averaged 27.3 points per game throughout that season. He also played a pivotal role in the Lakers’ dominating display against the Warriors, he scored 27 points and seven assists and nine rebounds in that match. That was Green’s first experience of the legend. However, what caught Green’s attention was what Kobe did before that match.
I think the thing that stood out to me the most about playing against Kobe that first time was his pregame warmup,” Green continued. “I finished my pregame warmup early. As a rookie you get there at like 3:30, 3:45 for a 7:30 game. As soon as I finished my warmup, he was coming on the floor, which No. 1 threw me off because I’m like why is he working out at 4 o’clock? It’s a 7:30 game.
“I sat there and watched his entire workout realizing why he worked out for so long. He worked out for like 40 minutes. And I sat there and watched the entire workout. By the time I finished watching his entire workout, I had missed my lift, my treatment — as a young guy you get the early slots and once you miss it it’s over. I had missed everything.
“I think for me personally that was a moment in my life where it was just like, yo, I’m sitting here watching Kobe. Nothing else really mattered to me at that point.”
When questioned whether it was worth it to spend time watching Kobe rather than doing his pre-game workout, he concluded, “100 percent. “Nothing could replace that moment for me. It was great.”