The Golden State Warriors secured their second straight championship, and third in four seasons a few months ago by sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. And if you asked anyone to tell you the defining moments of the series, most would point to J.R. Smith's blunder at the end of regulation of Game 1, or Kevin Durant's heroic performance in Game 3. But as it turns out, there was another incident that has lasted just as long in people's memories -- at least for the people involved.
Near the end of Game 1 of the Finals, Draymond Green and Tristan Thompson got into a bit of an altercation. Fed up with Green's taunting, Thompson shoved the ball into the Warriors forward's face. Nothing much came of it at the time, as the two players were separated, but Thompson did invite Green to continue the fracas off the court. Then, following Game 4, Green caused some more drama by refusing to shake Thompson's hand.
Apparently, Thompson was still upset about all of that as late as the middle of July, because according to a report from Marcus Thompson, he tried to fight Green at an ESPYs after party in Los Angeles. Via The Athletic:
In what would be best told by the late great storyteller Charlie Murphy, the "streets" turned out to be the swanky Delilah restaurant in West Hollywood on July 18. Both Green and Thompson were guests of LeBron for this ultra-exclusive affair — which prohibited phones and cameras. None of the attendees expected the on-the-court drama to flare back up in this setting.
Which is why everyone was stunned when Thompson, according to sources, out of nowhere attacked Green.
No argument. No squaring up. No taking it outside.
"It was a sucker punch," said one source who attended the party. "But, to be honest, it wasn't really a punch. It was more like a shove."
It was a face mush, another source described it. Other reports have described it as a legit punch, maybe even a quick one-two.
Whatever it was, Green was incensed, according to the sources.
Again, the two separated before a full altercation could ensue. Several NBA stars, among them LeBron and Kevin Durant, intervened. They were reminded this wasn't that type of party.
We knew Green wouldn't be able to keep quiet for long, and he posted a retort on his Instagram story on Wednesday in which he called the reports 'inaccurate' and came up with a sick burn for the city of Cleveland. Some Cavs fans werefor Thompson after reports of the punch, so Green initially told the fans to cancel it. Then, in the next segment of the story, he hit them with the zinger: "Nah keep the parade that city won't have any for a while...I forgot Bron left."
Green added that the reports didn't bother him, and that he was only saying something because his mother wanted him to set the record straight: "Lastly, I'm only telling y'all them facts are off because ma dukes was tired of y'all talking! I really didn't care."
Look, even if it wasn't technically a punch and the story didn't go exactly how it's being reported, this is still pretty wild, especially when considering this was over a month after the Finals. Green's comment after the Finals that he and Thompson weren't "cut from the same cloth" must have really irritated the Cavs big man if he was still willing to fight over it in the middle of July.
In any case, it's good to hear that other players stepped in before this could get out of hand. You never want anyone getting injured, but certainly not in a bar fight with another player.