Draymond Green is head over heels as his No. 23 jersey is slated to be retired on Tuesday at Michigan State University. The Golden State Warriors star, however, didn’t expect head coach Steve Kerr to attend the ceremony in the midst of a busy NBA regular season.
Kerr explained why he’s going to be in attendance:
“When I think about what’s he’s meant to the Warriors and my coaching career, the least I can do is be there for him on a big night,” Kerr told Kerith Burke of NBC Sports Bay Area. “There’s not even a second thought.”
“It’s a moment of respect,” said Kerr. “We’re honoring Draymond and showing the respect he deserves. This is one the biggest nights of his life and career. We should be there for him.”
Green and Kerr go way back to having heated discussions on the bench, shouting matches in the locker room, and now philosophic back-and-forths as the big man has become Kerr’s coaching presence on the court. Having Kerr present for the ceremony means more to Green than words can express:
“For him to come up that day with me for a big moment for myself and my family… it really means a lot,” said Green. “There’s a lot of things he could be doing, like resting. Or a lot of other things on an off day rather than being in East Lansing, but I’m truly appreciative of that.”
The Warriors face the Atlanta Hawks on Monday and the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday as part of a five-game road trip, giving Green and Kerr just enough time to catch a flight to Michigan for Green’s awaited jersey retirement.
Green, meanwhile, pointed to this gesture as one of the reasons the Warriors have been like a second family:
“I’ve always talked about being a part of this organization forever,” said Green, referring to the Warriors. “And it’s things like [this] that make you feel that way. It’s not that you win some games. It’s not that you got paid. It’s things like [this] that make you loyal to an organization. It means a lot to me.”
Green and Kerr have been through their share ups and downs through the years. That has only strengthened their bond, making this event one Kerr wouldn’t miss, even after coaching in back-to-back games.