In today’s social media age, sports fans are learning more and more about the personal lives of their favorite athletes.
Whether it’s who they’re dating, what they enjoy eating, where they vacation or what they’re wearing, it’s generally easy to find out with a simple swipe or click on a screen.
However, one player that has kept a low profile off the court has been Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. Considering his in-your-face, intense attitude on the court and brutally honest interactions with the press, it’s a bit odd that he’s able to keep the media and public out of his personal life.
Married and with a young child, Green has not only kept a low profile away from basketball, but he also finds joy in simple, meaningful conversations. He recently spoke with Mark Medina of The Mercury News and revealed the man that he called “a father figure, coach, friend and brother”: Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo.
“My relationship with him has meant a lot,” Green said of Izzo. “I can always get an unbiased opinion from somebody who really knows the game of basketball, which is special. He’s somebody that will tell me, ‘You’re wrong.’… He’s a special guy. I thank for him in my life. He has done so much for me, as a man, as a player. He’s meant a lot to me and still does.”
Since Green is notorious for complaining to referees after seemingly every call that goes against his team, his former coach constantly calls him out on it and keeps him in check.
“What are you doing? You cry about every call,” Izzo said, according to Green. “You’re worried about the wrong things.”
Green already has three technical fouls this season and has had an issue with verbally lashing out against officials. Through 10 games this season, he has continued to stuff the stat sheet, averaging 9.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.2 assists in 30.1 minutes. Therefore, Izzo shared some important advice for Green to follow.
“You can’t control what’s called,” Green said Izzo told him. “But you can control your reaction.”
It remains to be seen if Green listens to Izzo in that regard, but nonetheless, it was nice to catch a glimpse of the personal life of one of the most fascinating athletes in the world of sports.
In January, details of the friendship between the two men were revealed in a piece by Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle.
“It was coach-player but also father-son, friends,” Green said of his time at Michigan State. “The relationship had so many different levels and titles that were added along the way. I’d give my right arm for him … That’s one of my best friends. I know guys who hate their college coach. So I think our relationship is rare. But I think Coach Izzo is rare. He cares for your personal success.”
“If I could find another Draymond, I’d last another 10 years,” said Izzo at the time, who is now entering his 23rd season at Michigan State. “I hope Draymond Jr. comes out of high school early so I can get him. I bought him a bunch of illegal recruiting gifts. If the NCAA wants to come get me, so be it.”
While Green and Izzo have had their ups and downs together, it’s obvious that the two share a deep connection (at first on and now off the court), which is heartwarming to say the least.