The word "rivalry" is a term Draymond Green and the Warriors don't use loosely.
Despite all the beef between Golden State and the Memphis Grizzlies both on and off the court, Green doesn't believe it's a rivalry.
But after the Warriors' first playoff meeting with their Northern California neighbors in Sacramento in the opening round of the 2023 Western Conference playoffs, Green doesn't have an issue labeling future Kings matchups as a rivalry.
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"The reason I'm cool with that word being used is because there is a NorCal thing there," Green told NBC Sports Bay Area's Zena Keita on the latest "Dubs Talk," which debuted Thursday. "The Bay and Sacramento being so close, so different yet so similar. You have areas along the way that could kind of pick the Bay and could kind of pick Sacramento, where their [fandom] would go.
"So taking all of those things into account, then you add in [Kings owner] Vivek [Ranadivé], who was a minority owner here before he outright bought the Kings. [Kings coach] Mike [Brown]. Mike B has won championships with us. You start adding those things to it and it becomes all the more special. So that one I would not say what I would say about most people when they say 'rivals.' That's actually a thing that's bigger than basketball."
The Warriors finished the 2022-23 regular season with the No. 6 seed, earning a first-round meeting with the upstart Kings, who finished with the No. 3 seed and snapped a historic 17-year playoff drought.
Golden State Warriors
It was the first time in NBA history that the two teams met in the postseason, and the seven-game series did not disappoint. The "playoff rookies" stunned the basketball world when they took an early 2-0 series lead over the then-defending champion Warriors.
Golden State won the next three games, and after an impressive response from the Kings while facing elimination in Game 6, Steph Curry's historic 50-point performance crossed the Warriors past the finish line in Game 7.
Even though the Kings had an early playoff exit, Green was impressed with what he witnessed up close and is confident they're on the right track toward building longtime success in Sacramento. He knows what that looks like from the jump, and understands it doesn't happen overnight.
Before Green and the Warriors' Big Three were four-time champions, they faced a lot of adversity and had to fail before they could succeed. But patience, hard work and determination wrote the rest of their nearly decade-long domination in the West.
Green sees something similar in the Kings.
"Now you start talking about the basketball side of it and that team gained my respect," Green told Keita. "There's a lot of teams we've played over the course of this run, and they ain't gained any respect. But that team gained my respect. They got a bunch of young, hungry guys led by De'Aaron Fox, who will be a superstar in this league. They're hungry and they're going after it, and I respect that.
"I can look at them and I remember that part of the journey. The reality is: that's the sweetest part of the journey, when nobody thinks you can do it. They're right now in the sweetest part of the journey. And I love and appreciate that. Playing against those guys and going to a seven-game series, all of these playoff series you either lose and it's 'aw I respect those guys' or 'I don't really respect them at all.' And they gained my respect."
Fans won't have to wait long for this "rivalry" to continue this season. The Warriors and Kings will face off during the opening week of the 2023-24 NBA season on Oct. 27 at Golden 1 Center and then five days later at Chase Center.