The Los Angeles Lakers had a chance to put away the Miami Heat and clinch their 17th title in franchise history on Friday night, but they couldn't quite get the job done, losing 111-108 in Game 5. Much of the blame has fallen on veteran swingman Danny Green, who missed a wide-open 3-pointer in the closing seconds that would have put the Lakers in front.
There's been plenty of discussion about whether or not LeBron James, who kicked the ball out to Green instead of taking the shot himself, made the right play. And while that topic is a bit tiring and foolish -- obviously it was the right play, as he got a career 40 percent 3-point shooter a great look -- at least it's about basketball.
Off the court, there's been an uglier development. During a press conference with reporters on Sunday, Green revealed that both he and his fiancée have received death threats after he missed the shot. Via ESPN:
After Blair Bashen, the former Purdue volleyball player to whom Green proposed this summer, posted about the vitriol she was receiving, he reached out with concern.
"I had to ask, 'Are you getting death threats?' And she said, 'Yeah, you are too,' and I was like, I don't know, because I don't really pay attention or care. Nor am I upset, shaken or worried about it. I'm just not one of those types of people. I probably should be a little more paranoid or safe about things."
Green noted that he's learned to block out the noise from fans throughout his career, especially now that he's playing in Los Angeles, and said he focuses only on the voices inside the locker room. He added that he hopes fans don't take the game so seriously, and reiterated that he wasn't all that bothered by the threats.
"I'm just not one of those guys who's going to live my life that way worried about what other people say, think or do. I'm usually protected. I'm usually safe. I'm usually OK, and confident and secure in my own mind in my own home."
"It's a basketball game. People are emotional, fans are emotional. I hope they don't take it that seriously. I hope they are that passionate about voting or getting justice for these people who deserve justice or get some better change along in the country. But it's a basketball game at the end of the day and I know that they're just taking out their emotions and they need somebody to blame and it came down to that last play and, of course, I'm the easy target."
While Green is seemingly taking things in stride, this is obviously not an acceptable reaction from Lakers fans. Basketball is a meaningful part of so many people's lives, and perhaps even more so these days now that the world has been turned upside down, resulting in fewer things to look forward to or put your energy toward.
Still, as much as everyone wants their team to win, it is just a game after all, and there's no excuse for wishing death on someone because they missed a shot.