Rio de Janeiro – This summer hasn’t been quite what Draymond Green dreamed it would be, even though the former Michigan State star insists this trip to Rio to play for Team USA in the Olympics is “a dream come true for me, to represent my country in the best possible way.”
Still, even in Brazil, the former Michigan State star, whose one-game suspension in June’s NBA Finals might’ve derailed Golden State’s back-to-back championship bid, couldn’t escape questions about some of his off-court problems.
First came the arrest on a misdemeanor assault charge last month in East Lansing, stemming from a July 10 altercation in which he was accused of striking former Michigan State football player Jermaine Edmondson in the face outside a restaurant near the MSU campus. That charge was later dropped as Green agreed to pay $560 for a noise violation in a plea deal.
Then came last weekend’s accidental, X-rated Snapchat escapade, when a post of his privates went public – a mistake that earned him plenty of ridicule, including from his USA Basketball teammates before they headed to Rio for the Olympics. Following the team’s final exhibition game in Houston, as Green playfully heckled Kevin Durant in the locker room, Durant flipped him off and joked, “Put that on Snapchat.”
Thursday, the U.S. team held its pre-Olympic press conference – their first game in Rio is Saturday night against China – and Green, expected to play a key role off the bench for a dominant American squad, again was asked about all of his ups and downs the last six weeks.
“I’ve had a couple incidents that I’m not too proud of and that’s not who I am as a person,” Green said. “But like I said before, I’m not gonna sit and complain about some things that’s happened to me when there’s people out there struggling. I’m living my dream. I mean, I’m at the Olympics representing my country. I’m not gonna sit here and throw myself a pity party saying, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve caught a bad break and another bad break.’
“It sucks, but, like, who am I to be in the situation I’m in and try to complain about a couple things that happened to me? That’s selfish. And there’s a ton of people who’d say, ‘I’ll take those situations to be in that position, and you take my situation.’ So for me to sit and try and complain about a couple things that’s happened to me, that’s not right. And I’m not the guy that’s gonna do it. Because I understand. I grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. I know the struggle. I’ve been through the struggle, lived through it my whole life.
“So to sit and complain about a couple things that’s happened, like I’m not blessed and my life isn’t going the direction that I want it to go in, would be wrong. I won’t do that.”
Instead, he says, he’s going to relish the opportunity. Green’s only other experience with USA Basketball came at the 2011 World University Games in China, where the Americans finished fifth.
“And I thought that would be my last time ever putting on a USA jersey,” he said. “So to be here today, obviously it took a lot of hard work, a lot of things to go my way … but it’s an incredible experience so far.”