The post-series handshake is a frequently observed tradition of the NBA postseason. Once one team has officially defeated the other, it is custom for players on both sides to congratulate each other on a hard-fought series before exiting the floor and returning to the locker rooms. The final series of the first round concluded on Sunday, and one player was apparently absent from the proceedings.
"Lost a lot of respect for Sabonis," Green said. "You don't shake guys' hands after you lose, I don't respect that. I once left the court when we lost in Game 7 to the Cleveland Cavaliers. And I went to my locker room, I sat down and I said, 'This don't feel right.' And I walked back to the court and I showed everybody love. You lost, deal with it. Pay your respect. That was wack to me."
While Sabonis likely wasn't thrilled with the Game 7 loss, he had plenty of other reasons to snub the Warriors. Green himself was notably involved in the biggest. Late in Game 2 of this series, Green was ejected for stomping on Sabonis' chest, which led to a suspension for Game 3. It wasn't even the only major hit Sabonis took during the series. The officials missed a blatant elbow from Kevon Looney during a jump ball in Game 6. Sabonis played the rest of the game with a noticeable bruise under his eye.
Players have avoided postgame handshakes for far less. LeBron James, for example, was with 14 seconds left on Friday as his Los Angeles Lakers knocked out the Memphis Grizzlies. He did not explicitly explain why, but his over the weekend hinted at his displeasure with the trash-talk thrown his way by Green's rival, Dillon Brooks.
Sabonis did not directly address the situation after the game, and he is under no obligation to moving forward. Post-series handshakes are a tradition, but not an official one. NBA history is littered with bitter losers walking off the floor in defeat. Larry Bird's Boston Celtics did it to the Detroit Pistons. Those same Pistons did it to Michael Jordan's Bulls. There are surely less-publicized examples throughout NBA history.
Sabonis wasn't the first player to skip post-game handshakes. He won't be the last. But as far as excuses for doing so go, his feel relatively strong. Not many people would be too eager to shake hands with Green after what transpired between the two of them during the series.