LeBron James and Draymond Green were among the fiercest rivals in sports only a few years ago. The pair faced off four times in the NBA finals from 2015 through 2018. Green was suspended for Game 5 of the 2016 series for a hit on James’ groin. That series turned out to be Golden State’s lone loss to Cleveland and James in that span. They spent nearly half of a decade trying to beat one another.
But over the years, they’ve gained a mutual respect. Green signed with James’ longtime agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, in 2019. A year later, he went on ESPN’s First Take and called James “arguably the greatest player of all time.” James is doing everything in his power to back that claim up. He’s won four championships and is well on his way to becoming the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
And when that day comes, Green says he plans to be in attendance… regardless of whether or not his Warriors have a game elsewhere. “Probably in fifty more games or so, fifty to seventy games or so, he’ll be first all-time,” Green said on his podcast after James passed Karl Malone for second place on the league’s all-time scoring list. “And I can’t wait to see that and I hope, Steve Kerr, I’m throwing this out there right now: If LeBron is passing the all-time scoring record and we have a game, I’m going to LeBron’s game to witness history. So that’s what we doing, coach Kerr.”
Entering Sunday’s game, James had scored 36,985 points in his career. That’s 1,402 points behind all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. At his career average of 27.1 points per game, James will need roughly 52 games to break the record. Barring injury, that would put him in line to get there near the middle of next season.
The logistics of Green missing a Warriors game to view LeBron’s record would be nightmarish to plan. Imagine he enters a game within striking distance, Green attends and then James doesn’t break the record. Would he skip a second Warriors game to stick around for the record? What would his definition of striking distance even be? James has scored 50 points in two separate games this month alone. Good luck to Golden State planning this. The Warriors are going to need it.
Whether or not Green is able to attend the record-breaking moment, his desire to do so reflects the respect most NBA legends have for one another. James and Green are both headed to the Hall of Fame, and they’re both closer to the end of their careers than the beginning. No matter how heated a rivalry gets in the moment, there’s always room for relations to thaw.