Draymond Green

Stephen A. claps back at Draymond losing respect for him

NBC Universal, Inc.

Two prominent NBA figures who once were allies through the media now are publicly feuding over comments about an incident that took place five-plus months ago.

Warriors forward Draymond Green joined Shaquille O'Neal on the latest episode of "The Big Podcast with Shaq," which was released Wednesday, where he called out ESPN's Stephen A. Smith for his comments about him in the wake of the veteran forward's indefinite suspension for striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkić in the face in a Dec. 12 game.

"Stephen A. Smith really pissed me off," Green told Shaq. "And the reason he pissed me off was because he hit me, he's like 'Yo, it's been hard for a lot of us to talk about you these last few days.' You know, for me, I'm like ... OK, it's been hard for me to watch but I'm watching it because I want to see everything that everybody had to say.

"But the thing that pissed me off is you tell me it's been hard for y'all to talk about me. Stephen A., every time I meet someone and they say something about you, it's never like 'yo, I like him. He cool.' It's always 'man, f--k that dude, he's a character,' he's this, he's that. And I always say back 'I actually know the guy, the guy is actually a cool dude. You can take what you want from the TV screen, I actually know the guy and he's a cool dude and a real dude.'

"And then you get the opportunity to talk about me, and listen, I know you got a job to do, I know you got to do your thing and say what you say, but not at one point did you say 'y'all are saying this person is f--ked up and this person needs help, now I know the person. Now say what you want about the basketball player, that's fine. But I know the person.' But to sit back and see those that claim to know and appreciate me as a human being just flow with the narrative because it was easy to do, I lost a lot of respect for a lot of people."

Smith, in a seven-minute segment on Thursday's episode of "First Take," issued a fiery response to Green's comments. You can watch his full response below, but here is the TL;DR version.

"Draymond Green just went on a national podcast with Shaquille O'Neal, my brother, and said that he lost respect for me," Smith said. "Well, I have now lost all respect for him. I love this brother, I've got mad love for Draymond Green. I have an abundance of receipts where I can show you, and Molly [Qerim] you can be a testament to this, how many times have I spoken up for Draymond Green? It's been countless times. This man has been ejected from games 20 times in his career. Only Rasheed Wallace, another brother of mine, has been ejected for more games in his NBA career ...

"And when he hit [Jusuf] Nurkić, it was me that was on the air, you can attest to this Molly, when you had people talking about anger management. Talking about 'he needs help.' I was the one that said 'Yo, that's going too damn far.' I was the one that had a problem with Kevin Durant saying 'I hope he gets the help he needs.' I said that's a brother, that's another teammate, you know he's a Black man and you know what that connotates. Why are you going to say something like that?"

Smith then showed receipts by asking the show producers to play an old "First Take" clip where he echoed exactly what he said he did and went on to explain that he has defended Green countless times in the past and would have appreciated him reaching out privately instead of calling him out publicly on Shaq's podcast.

"I'm just simply saying, the important point to point out is we talk about being men," Smith added. "I'm not hard to find. Draymond could have called me up, Draymond could have had a conversation with me, I don't need to find that out on Shaq's podcast when the world knows he is wrong. I did not do that.

"You going to take a soundbite? You know how much stuff I've said positive about Draymond Green. Do you know how many times I've come to the defense of Draymond Green about his character in the league office, in media, in the newsroom, on podcasts, on various interviews that I have done? I have never, ever failed to support him. And all I'm saying is if you're going to have a problem with me, let a brother know."

The two developed a close relationship over the years and likely will squash their beef at some point. But as of now, it seems like they still have plenty to work out.

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