Golden State Warriors not about to pay much attention to villains label

NBA.com Staff

When LeBron James joined the Miami Heat in 2010, it led to plenty of discussion about how the Heat had become the villains of the NBA. But after one season embracing that role (and losing in the NBA Finals), LeBron and the Heat went back to embracing fun and playing the way they’d always played. Coincidence or not, two NBA titles followed shortly thereafter.

Pardon the short detour into history, but after adding Kevin Durant to a team that won 73 games a season ago, the Golden State Warriors have recently found themselves facing a similar conundrum: To be (villains), or not to be?

According to some Warriors, it’s not even a question. Sure, Stephen Curry recently threw a party for the team with “SUPER VILLAINS” literally spelled out using gigantic balloons — “It was just a very expensive balloon joke,” Curry said to ESPN — but as Chris Haynes writes for ESPN.com, the Warriors have no interest in being anything they are not.

Durant, in fact, said he’s confused as to how a player can suddenly transform into a super villain.

“To be honest, I don’t even know what that means bro,” Durant said to ESPN. “I’m dead serious. What does it mean? I don’t get it. I seriously don’t get it. And I think for us, it was a party. We’re just playing into it. It’s not like we’re walking in there and like, ‘Let’s be villains when we walk out on the floor. Let’s be mad at everyone and let’s be villains.’”

But then there’s Draymond Green.

“Draymond, he’s just a villain,” Durant said when asked if anybody fits that description on the team. “Nobody likes him. He’s [not] like that because he’s playing into this narrative about us, it’s just always who he’s been. He plays with passion, he gets under other team’s skin and under the fan’s skin and he plays that way. He’s been that way since college. I think everybody’s looking at Draymond as like, ‘They’re the villains because of Draymond,’ but that’s just who he is. That’s what makes him Draymond Green.”

Green is the team’s emotional leader and a Swiss Army knife of a player who doesn’t mind saying exactly what’s on his mind. On Friday, he criticized Boston Celtics fans for booing Durant, calling them “desperate” and saying their behavior might cause them to miss out on future free agents. And the very next day in Milwaukee, after a key defensive stop, he warned teams never to go at him for game point because he takes it as disrespect.

“I think people want us to be villains,” Green told ESPN. “They want to make us out to be villains, and that’s fine. Like I said before, I don’t really care. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t go home at night thinking like, ‘Man, they think I’m a villain. They think we’re villains.’ Like, I don’t really care. I think it’s more of a running joke than anything, but, yet, if that’s what they want us to be, we’ll be that.”

Green said in light of the new additions and the new detractors nothing internally has changed with how the team prepares for competition.

“The thing is we’re not looking at that and saying, ‘Hey, we’re coming out here and we’re punching people in the mouth, we’re doing this.’ We play the exact same way we’ve always played. It’s one thing if you want to walk in somewhere [saying], ‘I’m big, I’m bad, we this, we that.’ We don’t. I think it maybe becomes a problem if it changes your attitude, if it changes your approach to everything. It doesn’t change our approach. Our pregame speeches are still the same, Steph’s speeches before we run out the tunnel are still the same.

“It’s not, ‘Ah man, they hate us. Let’s go.’ Who cares?”