OAKLAND (KRON) — Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green is being heralded 2016’s NBA postseason bad boy by critics and on social media. His controversial play during the playoffs, highlighted by Game 4’s on-court skirmish with Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, earned him a suspension for Golden State’s possible title-clinching game on Monday.
But not everyone agrees that Green was wrong for what he did on Friday night.
According to NBA on TNT analyst Charles Barkley, the league’s seeming authority on bad boy ethics, Green was obligated to retaliate and slap James on the privates.
In an interview Sunday with radio hosts Howard Beck and Noah Coslov on “NBA Sunday Tip,” the Hall of Famer said, “You’re supposed to pop him in his junk if he steps over you like that. That’s a perfectly fine response if a guy does that.”
The incident happened late in the fourth quarter of NBA Finals’ Game 4. James was trying to muscle his way through Green’s pick when the two got tangled up and Green fell to the floor. James decided to step over the fallen Warrior at which point Green threw a sneaky swipe at James’ groin.
“I gave Draymond a compliment,” Barkley said. “I said, ‘You could have played in our day.’ Because when a guy steps over you, you have a moral obligation to punch him … You have a moral obligation. Because that’s really disrespectful to step over a guy.”
The NBA reviewed Green’s altercation with James and assessed him a flagrant foul. The league announced Sunday morning that Green was suspended for Game 5.
“You got to act like you didn’t mean to do it,” Barkley advised.
“But listen man, and I can say it, I told Draymond that: when somebody steps over you, they’re doing that intentionally to just like rub it in your face. I mean, they’re deliberately trying to punk you in that situation.”
Green got into trouble in a separate crotch-related incident during the Warriors’ Western Conference Finals series with Oklahoma City Thunder on May 22. He was fined $25,000 but not suspended by the NBA for kicking Thunder center Steven Adams in the groin.
The Warriors lead the NBA Finals series 3-1. Game 5 is Monday at 6 PM at Oracle Arena.