In the NBA Playoffs, Draymond Green walks a fine line between madness and sanity

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Darren Aronofsky is America’s celebrated tormentor, famed for crafting visually arresting films that make us feel miserable. His closest brush with a traditional crowd-pleaser, The Wrestler from 2008, stars Mickey Rourke in a role which almost earned him an Oscar nod. The story follows an elderly mixed martial artist on the fringe of the industry, who is damaged in body and spirit – his heart unable to take much more punishment. He must choose between embracing other people’s version of happiness or sacrificing it all to stay true to himself. Draymond Green’s experience as a tormented genius in Golden State Warriors mirrors that of Rourke’s character.

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

If you want to compare Draymond to a heroic figure from the past, then you don’t need to look any further than comic books or old fairytales. This idea of an exceptional and unique person working hard in order to reach their goals despite internal and external struggles is a common theme found throughout popular culture – from Marvel, DC, US and Greek tales all the way back through history. It’s an interesting concept and it certainly makes for captivating storytelling.

Draymond is often the subject of criticism and can be hard to interpret but, in his own domain, both on the court and on his podcast, he can make just as much impact as his opponents. With hindsight, some might argue that it was his actions that cost the team a championship title. This enigmatic figure is undersized for his position, never been particularly swift and not a strong shooter either – yet there’s only one team who ever deemed him worthy. Nowadays he’s aging and highly priced- however his significance to the Warriors dynasty is arguably comparable to one of the greatest players of all time. How did this occur?

Here’s where Draymond’s origin story comes in. He grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, a 19th century lumber hub that became a Chevrolet town in the 20th century and apparently makes nothing in the 21st century. As far as I know, it’s a place Paul Simon hitchhiked to from once and with a quick Google search, it seems like a standard middle American post-industrial nightmare now mainly known for producing Draymond Green.

The Saginaw High School team won two consecutive Michigan High School championships under Draymond’s leadership. In the end, he stayed in the state and took his talents to East Lansing to play under (who else?) Tom Izzo, one of the best college players and coaches in history. While playing under Izzo, Draymond transformed his habits, as well as his body (sort of!) and became the Big Ten Player of the Year in his senior year, averaging 20 and 12 points per game.

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