Dillon Brooks must not have seen or fully absorbed peak Chappelle’s Show-era “When Keepin’ It Real Goes Wrong” sketches. This week, Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks tried being his authentic, obnoxious self in an ESPN profile that featured quotes that drew the ire of equally cranky Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green.
That’s not exactly breaking news, nor is it surprising he’d try to irk Green. Never one to back away from a fight in person or on the internet, Green used his podcast platform to blast Brooks with the deadly precision of a trained verbal assassin. You can always count on Green to throw vinegar into the wounds of a reeling Grizzlies team. If anything, he seems to get a rise out of it and Brooks opened the window. Green clearly took Brooks’ comments to heart and responded in an emphatic fashion to each and every criticism Brooks levied against him.
Here are the highlights:
“This idiot said ‘I don’t know what Draymond does out there,” Green said. ... “He said, ‘I just don’t like Golden State.’ I, quite frankly, wouldn’t like a team that beats me all the time either.”
That one cut deep. But Memphis has been bumping their gums about dethroning Golden State for two years. The Grizz had their best shot in the 2022 Western Conference semifinals, but they couldn’t capitalize.
“‘I don’t want anything to do with them.’ Quite frankly, you were a little kid in high school watching us win championships. You should be happy that you even witnessed that. ... You’re a fan.”
Brooks was a freshman at Oregon during Golden State’s 2015 championship season, but Green calling a rival player a fan is hilarious. It’s also the polar opposite of what Brooks said after Golden State eliminated them last May.
But let’s get on with the rest of Green’s diatribe.
“If you ever wondered why the Memphis Grizzlies is not ready to compete for a championship, look no further than this idiot right here,” Green said of Brooks. “They actually are depending on this guy to help them win a championship, and he says ‘his game is cool.’ Quite frankly, that just shows how little you know about basketball.”
That’s where it gets really interesting.
Ah man, Green is about to put on his analyst hat now. He might be alluding to Brooks having the 450th-worst effective field goal percentage in the league (at the time of this writing) this season without contributing in any other way as a 3-and-D wing. Brooks is still the superior shooter to Green, but the former doesn’t offer much value during cold streaks.
“Your level of understanding the game of basketball is at a fan level. And you’re running around talking about a dynasty? The dynasty starts after you, not with you,” Green said.
“That’s just a fact. I know dynasty-like players. They aren’t clowns. That doesn’t work when building a dynasty... Take it from me — I actually know! Clowns don’t work building a dynasty.”
Insulting his basketball IQ and calling Brooks a clown is the most personal this war of words has ever gotten. Next time they meet, don’t be surprised if Brooks has bad intentions toward Green.
“I’m trying to figure out why they like you in Memphis. Or do they like you in Memphis? That’s a better question,” Green said. “I’m not sure your teammates like you. But I can tell you why they like me over [in Golden State]. When you contribute in the way I have contributed to four championships, they tend to like you.”
Green thinks highly of himself though. That’s apparent. He isn’t wrong though. I’d imagine he has a higher approval rating in the Bay Area than Brooks does right now in Grind City. However, Brooks and Green are different sides of the same coin.
Every sleek title contender needs a cantankerous, annoying archetype player or starter to keep everyone engaged when they hit one of those eventual lulls over the course of a draining contest or during stretches of an 82-game season. His job is also to get opponents to play out of character by focusing on his antics instead of their play. It’s the human equivalent of internet provocateurs. The more attention you provide them with, the larger their presence grows.
That’s why Brooks sounded impressed with himself to Keown, bragging that he occupies real estate in Donovan Mitchell’s head since executing the perfect faux slip n’ fall, then purposely rolling into Mitchell just so he could purposely tap his hand against the Cavaliers guard’s groin in a regular season matchup last month.
Plays like that are the reason Brooks has been a hate magnet for the Memphis Grizzlies. He’s also been a serial line flagrant foul artist. All the bad energy from opposing teams gets trained on Green instead of Klay Thompson or Steph Curry He’s a human negativity shield.
And yet, with all that said, while everyone views Green’s run-ins with the Grizzlies as the symptoms of a rivalry, I see two bickering soulmates. Not Green and Brooks, they hate each other. Memphis might be the perfect soft landing spot for Green if his Golden State reign ends this offseason. Additionally, Branden Clarke’s torn Achilles leaves a vacancy in the Grizzlies’ lineup for a versatile defensive anchor whose contributions can’t be fully explained through the box score.
Most importantly, the Grizz are in desperate need of a veteran who has been through the playoff gauntlet before. Green checks off all those boxes. Scoff if you want, but stranger things have happened.