Dante Exum received a baptism of fire when he met Draymond Green for the first time. Exum was 19 when the Jazz met the notorious Golden State power forward. Green viciously caught Exum in the throat and forced him off the court. Exum spent the next few minutes vomiting in the locker room.
However, he returned to action and impressed everybody with his tenacity. Jazz coach Quin Snyder told the Herald Sun: “Nineteen and skinny doesn’t mean he’s not tough. I mean that. You’re going to have to knock him around pretty good for him to not come back in the game.”
If reincarnation exists, it’s safe to be that Green will return as a donkey. That’s because he kicks other players with the regularity of an NFL punter. In 2016, Marquese Chriss became one of his victims. The awkward part was that the pair would eventually become teammates (via NBC Sports).
However, Green doesn’t think about future consequences when he kicks the living daylights out of his foes. Chriss’s pinky swelled up after the game as a result of Green’s brutality. If Green wanted to become a UFC fighter, he’d probably have a few head kick KOs on his record
After the game, Chriss made it clear that the injury frustrated him. He said that there was no need for Green to leave his leg in the air as he does. Many people thought that Chriss exaggerated the injury but swelling later showed that it was painful.
“I was frustrated at the time but just move on from it,” Chriss said (via Slam Online). “It happens. It’s easy to avoid. In hindsight, you don’t have to kick your leg up in the air as frequently as it’s happening. It’s just something that needs to be addressed.”
When a player is constantly on the edge like Green, it stands to reason that they’ll attempt something weird. It’s just a shame that it involved one of his natural rivals, Griffin. One strange moment saw Green attempt to lick Griffin in 2014 (via Sporting News).
It’s not the first time that an elite athlete’s mouth came too close to an opponent. Tyson Fury once famously licked Deontay Wilder. There are also multiple incidents of biting involving soccer star Luis Suarez. Green didn’t make contact but he came close.
The Warriors knew that a statement was necessary in Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Finals. They unleashed their power forward and enabled him to use all of his dirty tricks to rattle the Celtics. Green wrestled Al Horford to the floor as he set the tone for the rest of the game (via Washington Post).
He almost stomped on Jaylen Brown’s head as he fell awkwardly. But that wasn’t deliberate because Green doesn’t intentionally try to hurt other players. It didn’t stop him from trying to pull Brown’s shorts down as he stood up. This game was a perfect encapsulation of Green’s notorious career.
Brown reacted after the game and said what he thought about Green’s antics. In short, it didn’t surprise him because it was typical of the power forward’s career. Green called himself the best defensive player in the league but perhaps it’s more accurate to describe him as the most ruthless.
“That’s what Draymond Green does,” Brown said (via ASAP Sports). “He’ll do whatever it takes to win. He’ll pull you, he’ll grab you, he’ll try to muck the game up because that’s what he does for their team. It’s nothing to be surprised about.”
This is one of Green’s worst incidents in his notorious career. James Harden experienced the brunt of the controversial star’s vile behavior. The worst part of this from a Warriors’ perspective was that it also cost his team a chance of winning the game (via Business Insider).
He went up against Harden and elbowed him in the head. As the Houston legend collapsed to the floor, Green followed up with an ax kick. Video replays provided damning evidence as Harden didn’t know what happened. This was a full-blown assault.
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the previous moment is that Green didn’t even think it was a flagrant foul. He complained more about Harden’s ability to draw fouls than his misdemeanor. That says a lot about the Golden State enforcer, as he seems to be more than willing to write off the risks to his opponents’ health as long as he can stop them from scoring (via Complex).
“I never thought that they would call a flagrant foul,” Green said. “That never even crossed my mind. It wasn’t really much going through my head at all, but I got to try and make these two free throws. Other than that, I really don’t worry too much about what they do.”
In 2016, the Celtics inflicted a shock home defeat on the Warriors. Golden State turned San Francisco into a fortress but Boston managed to stun them. One of the most eye-catching moments saw Green bodycheck Marcus Smart as he stood up from the hardwood (via Hoops Hype).
Smart reacted bullishly before playing Green again on the East Coast. He said: “I mean, you respond to fire with fire, right? We’ve just got to turn around and do the same thing. If he’s going to come in here and try to be physical, this is our house and we’ve got to protect it.”
In 2018, the Warriors played the Lakers in the NBA Play-In Tournament. LeBron James lived up to his reputation as the best and most famous player in the sport. He scored the game-winning points to seal victory for his team and a place in the playoffs (via Sporting News).
But he experienced adversity at the hands of Green. That’s because the Warriors forward savagely eye gouged him during the game. It appeared innocuous but given Green’s notorious career it’s clear that he knew what he was doing. Luckily, James didn’t suffer any long-term damage from Green’s latest attempt to put his opponent’s health in jeopardy.
James said that he experienced real fear after the eye poke. It affected his vision and made him see triple. It’s worth remembering that this isn’t the only time that Green gouged an opponent in his notorious career. That makes this incident even worse.
The NBA icon reacted to the assault in the postgame interview. “After Draymond’s finger to the eye, I was literally seeing three rims out there, so, I just shot at the middle one,” James said (via Clutchpoints). “And I was able to – by the grace of the man above – I was able to knock it down.” James thanked his Higher Power for his ability to sink the game-winning shot despite his challenge seeing, but it all could have been avoided if Green wasn’t so ready to put his opponents at serious risk on multiple occasions.
As mentioned in the previous incident, Green has a long and nasty history of gouging opponents in the eyes. He poked James Harden in the eyes not once but twice in the second round of the 2019 NBA playoffs. This left the Rockets star with contusions and swelling after Green inflicted genuine pain.
Harden also suffered a lacerated eyelid from one of Green’s fingernails. This could have been much worse if Green’s nail made contact with the eyeball. Harden could have experienced a detached retina or something even more serious (via NBC Sports). This was yet another incident when Green put his opponents’ long-term health at risk with his violent play, and it’s clearly a pattern when he plays some of the biggest stars in the NBA.
You can probably notice we could have made a list from Green’s eye pokes alone by now. Here’s another one from 2022 when he jabbed Nikola Jokic in the eye. His index finger went deep into the Serbian’s eye socket as he jumped into the air. It was clearly dangerous because of the risk to the reigning MVP’s vision.
Fans reacted online in a predictable manner. They called out Green for his dangerous play and said that there was nothing more dangerous in basketball than one of his fingers. His notorious career has seen many of these incidents, and he shows no signs of changing his ways (via Yardbreaker).
We’re not saying that a kick to the head might help reset Kyrie Irving’s brain. But that could be what was going through Green’s mind when they met in 2016. First, Irving took a handful of Green’s jersey. But this was like waving a red flag in front of a bull, as Green was ready to enact revenge from that moment on.
Green simultaneously flopped to the hardwood while lashing out with his foot. He caught Irving in the chest while narrowly avoiding his head. This was fantastic even by Green’s dastardly standards because he lashed out in multiple violent ways (via Clutchpoints).
In 2017, Green attempted to kick another opponent from the ground. This time his would-be victim was his old nemesis, Blake Griffin. Perhaps Griffin insulted Green’s mother or something equally nefarious because he received a lot of maltreatment from the Warriors star.
Green was on the floor when Griffin attempted to compete for the ball. Instantly, Green lashed out with his foot as he tried to connect with the Memphis player. Luckily, he didn’t make contact nor did he aim for Griffin’s groin this time (via Fansided).
Golden State’s most violent player made headlines again after Game 3 of the 2022 NBA Finals. He had a terrible game as he picked up six fouls including one where he bulldozed Marcus Smart to the ground. Meanwhile, the notoriously hostile Boston fans made their feelings about him known with foul chants.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr and teammate Klay Thompson criticized the Celtics’ fans because they didn’t think of the children in attendance when they effused profanity-laced tirades against Green and Golden State. But Green’s notorious career is arguably a much worse example for them to follow than any poor, cuss-word-laden boors from the fans. He flamed out and admitted that he performed like garbage (via CBS News).
In April 2016, the Warriors played Houston in the third game of their series. Green committed another flagrant foul when he tackled Michael Beasley to the ground. It was a moment born of frustration as Green fumbled the ball before he wrestled the Rockets’ forward.
This was the Warriors’ final possession ahead of their one-point loss against Houston. It’s not the worst foul of Green’s career but it shows what type of player he is. If things don’t go his way, he turns basketball into a WrestleMania tribute (via Bleacher Report). This was just another example of this in Green’s long history of tangling up his opponents and possibly hurting them.
The Rockets also met Golden State in the 2015 Conference Finals. Green seemingly has a vendetta against the franchise due to his notorious incidents involving James Harden and Michael Beasley. But this time he had a run-in with Trevor Ariza as the pair became embroiled in a wrestling match.
First, Ariza lost his balance and fell on top of Green as they competed for the ball. It was innocuous until Green tangled with Ariza and prevented his opponent from getting back to his feet. Suddenly, the pair appeared to be competing in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu match instead of playing basketball (via USA Today Sports).
Green earned himself another flagrant foul after he clotheslined LeBron James mid-court in 2017. Golden State played the Cavs and Green felt like leaving a mark on the game. He also wanted to leave a physical imprint of his body on King James (via Bleacher Report).
We’ve spoken already about how Green poked James in the eye before. He also kicked him in the groin on one occasion. The greatest basketball player of the 2010s knows all about Green’s malicious behavior. He’s felt the full force of the forward’s dark arts on multiple occasions. Despite his injuries, he’s lived to tell the tale so far.
There’s no denying that Green has had a hugely successful career with the Warriors. Arguably, every team needs that type of player who’s willing to get down and dirty. But his penchant for chaos and attacking his opponents has cost Golden State dearly on occasion. One such moment was his attempted kick on LeBron James in the 2016 NBA Finals.
The forward lashed out from the ground with his foot and attempted to make kick James in the groin. He missed thankfully but got himself suspended for the next game. This was a crucial reason why the Cavaliers turned a 3-1 deficit around as Green cost himself another ring, but his play has helped the Warriors to multiple titles as a result as well (via Sportskeeda).
Fans may have given Green the benefit of the doubt if he were anybody else but himself. But the fact is that he’s one of the dirtiest players in the history of basketball. In 2018, he dislocated Jonas Valanciunas’s left thumb as he jostled for the ball. This left the Lithuanian player screaming in agony.
It’s one of the worst incidents of Green’s notorious career because he hurt a fellow opposing player badly. It didn’t help that he had a history of hand injuries and was having a good season. Green brought that to an end and earned a lot of resentment in the process (via Bardown). Overall, Green hurt a ton of players as you’ve read on this list, but this may have been the worst injury he afflicted on an opponent.