OAKLAND — Draymond Green had already dropped the mic at the Golden State Warriors’ latest championship parade.
He has made a habit out of this sort of thing at these gatherings, always saying something that makes the million or so fans on hand either cheer or cringe. This time, after claiming to the crowd that "you won’t get the speech you got out of me last time," he was up to his old tricks again. This time, his words were in defense of Warriors general manager Bob Myers and in the direction of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James.
"Can somebody give Bob some (expletive) credit?" he yelled into the sea of blue and yellow outside the Lake Merritt scene that was flooded with fans.
Green, who would discuss the root of his speech later with USA TODAY Sports, was off and running.
"They want to talk about super teams this, super team that, I never played on a super team," Green said in reference to the Cavaliers star sharing that view of his career after the deciding Game 5 of the NBA Finals. "You started the super team, bro! I didn't join a super team. Hey Slim (Kevin Durant), I don't know what you just did Slim, but you did something to them boys. We appreciate you joining the super team."
As Green would later share as he walked toward the buses that would take the Warriors back to their nearby practice facility, he was stunned to hear James say that he had never taken the "super team" route. His Miami Heat team that won two championships was the product of James and Chris Bosh joining forces with Dwyane Wade in 2010, and these Cavs came together in similar fashion when James returned in 2014 to the team that already had All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and was joined by All-Star forward Kevin Love six weeks later via trade.
"LeBron said he'd never been on a super team," Green, still wearing his sunglasses as he stopped every few feet to take pictures with fans, explained to USA TODAY Sports. "As KD said before, (James) showed everyone it was possible to do that. And so, it wasn't that (what James said) didn't sit well with me. It didn't bother me, but let's just be clear. It was very surprising, because like I said, he was the one who opened the door for that. So let's just be clear about it."
What’s more, Green is tired of the idea that the Warriors cheated the system by adding Durant in free agency last summer. The drafting of back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry (seventh overall in 2009), two-time All-Star Klay Thompson (11th overall in 2011), and the three-time All-Star in Green (35th overall in 2012) built the foundation that would eventually inspire Durant to come their way.
"(Myers) doesn't get the credit he deserves," Green said. "That's been on my mind a lot for a long time. At the end of the day, you look at the work that he's done with this team, this team had never won before he got here (in April 2011), and he has put together a great team that's put together two championships in three years. It's about God damn time he got some credit for it."
Green, true to form, spent the day speaking his mind in a variety of forms.
There were the T-shirts he had made to poke fun at Cleveland, with "Quickie" — which was inspired by the Cavs’ home, Quicken Loans Arena, and in reference to the speed with which the Warriors disposed of the Cavs — written across the front next to the Larry O’Brien trophy. There were the multiple references to "Ultimate Warriors" during the course of the on-stage portion of the program, including one from Warriors coach Steve Kerr in which he openly winked at all of his players after using it. Last year, when the Cavs came back from a 3-1 deficit to win it all, James wore an Ultimate Warrior shirt from the WWF days that was seen as a subtle dig at Golden State.
There was Green admitting that the Warriors never forgot about the Cavs’ many antics, including James’ Halloween party last October that had all sorts of not-so-subtle shots at the Warriors.
"You remember," he said. "It's not that it's bothering you to the point where you're defeated or anything like that, but you're definitely going to remember it. And we remembered it. That's why this whole thing was personal."
Even with all the barbs flying in both directions, Green and James remain close friends. The two stars are partners on the "Uninterrupted" platform on which they’re both routinely featured, most recently when they filmed a segment deemed "The Shop" in which they reflected on, among other things, the 2015 Finals. James wasted no time in responding to Green’s taunts, posting a picture of Green in the T-shirt with a caption, "That’s what she said, HUH?!?!?!"
"Yeah, that was funny; that was real funny," Green said of James’ response. "It's all in good fun. At the end of the day, it was a great series. We were able to prevail. They won last year. Just for him to have that response shows his character, to obviously not be down by the fact (that they lost). Light jokes. I think that was pretty cool."
So, Green was asked, is a Cavs-themed Warriors Halloween party the next step in this war of words?
"I won't throw a Halloween party," Green said. "If I want to take more shots (at the Cavs), I'll take them in a different way."