The animosity between Draymond Green and Tristan Thompson apparently continued well beyond this year’s NBA Finals series. Rumors have been flying for two weeks about a fight at a Los Angeles nightclub following the ESPY Awards on July 18, and details finally emerged Tuesday pointing to the Warriors and Cavs forwards as the primary players involved.
But what do we know about the alleged scuffle, and what should we believe really happened? Before breaking down the latest reports, let’s take a trip back to the Finals to understand why Green and Thompson don’t enjoy each other’s company.
Draymond Green and Tristan Thompson have a history
Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals will go down as the “Oh, no, what the hell is J.R. Smith doing?” game, but the end of overtime had plenty of drama.
The Warriors had the win all locked up with the clock running down, but instead of taking a shot clock violation, Shaun Livingston fired a trademark midrange jumper. Thompson decided to throw an elbow in Livingston’s direction on the release of the shot, leading to an ejection.
Then Green threw gasoline on the fire.
But it didn’t end there. After the Warriors completed a sweep of the Cavs, Green refused to offer Thompson the customary handshake before he left the floor.
At Golden State’s victory parade, Green explained why he didn’t give Thompson any respect, saying, “Tristan, we ain’t cut the same.”
There’s already a healthy amount of hostility between on-court rivals, especially when you’ve met in the Finals for four straight years. But this escalated quickly from just basketball beef to “meet me in the streets.”
So . . . did Draymond Green and Tristan Thompson actually fight?
Gossip and entertainment site Bossip first reported on the circumstances surrounding the alleged fight, citing multiple sources and witnesses at the private party.
“Both ballers were in the nightclub for a private party after the ESPY Awards July 18th, and we’re told that Thompson — dad of baby girl True with Khloe Kardashian — socked Green with a two-piece, getting the better of the NBA Champion.”
Fox Sports 1’s Jason McIntyre supported this story and shared more about the exchange that preceded the punches.
Draymond went up to apologize to Tristan for what happened after G4 of the finals. TT said ‘nah man’ and Draymond tried again, ‘come on, I didn’t mean it’ and then WHAP, Tristan leveled him with a punch. Draymond didn’t go down.
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) July 31, 2018
Draymond Green was not the aggressor, he was trying to make peace. Tristan felt embarrassed by the end of the Finals diss moment and just unloaded. Couple players i spoke here in LA/on social media went with, “about time”
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) July 31, 2018
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It’s fair to be skeptical here. This sounds a little too much like a movie script.
The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson, who regularly covers the Warriors and literally wrote the book on Stephen Curry, didn’t report any sort of conversation prior to the physical altercation. The Cavs big man just “out of nowhere attacked Green.”
“It was a sucker punch,” said one source who attended the party. “But, to be honest, it wasn’t really a punch. It was more like a shove.”
It was a face mush, another source described it. Other reports have described it as a legit punch, maybe even a quick one-two.
Whatever it was, Green was incensed, according to the sources.
And then there’s another version from ESPN’s Pablo Torre, who says Green was “teasing Tristan Thompson at multiple locations that night” and hitting Thompson with verbal jabs about Khloe Kardashian and LeBron James leaving him and the Cavs behind.
[email protected] recounts the story of how the Tristan Thompson and Draymond Green “fight” might have gone down… pic.twitter.com/4IygZj8HoC
— HIGH NOON (9am Pacific) (@HIGHNOONonESPN) August 1, 2018
So was it a two-piece, huge punch, shove or face mush? It seems safe to say something happened, but unless there is random security footage floating around, we may never know exactly what transpired that night.
Did LeBron James and Kevin Durant have to break it up?
Bossip claims James and Durant “quickly stepped in” to prevent further chaos, and James left the party shortly after the melee. However, Thompson reports James and Durant were among “several NBA stars” who jumped in, so portraying the former MVPs as the only peacemakers might not be entirely accurate.
It also doesn’t sound like the kerfuffle ruined the celebration. Cooler heads prevailed, according to Thompson.
After a conflict resolution session among NBA millionaires, temperatures settled. The party continued with Green and Thompson co-existing without issue, laughing and partying the rest of the night.
“Man, that wasn’t no fight,” one source said. “It was much ado about nothing.”
Green and Thompson have not publicly commented on the incident — and there’s not a great reason for them to weigh in. This probably got blown out of proportion because of the names involved. NBA beefs are fun to discuss, but there are so many details that don’t quite match up.
Still, that next game between the Cavs and Warriors should be very interesting.