Sean Merriman, BTN.com web editor, June 17, 2015
Congrats to Draymond Green and the @warriors on winning the NBA Championship. #NBAFinals #GSW #SpartansWill— Michigan State Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) June 17, 2015
Draymond Green had heard it all in this year's NBA playoffs. He had been called everything from a rising superstar to an NBA villain.
Tonight, Green has a new title to add to the list.
The former Michigan State standout becomes the first Big Ten player to win an NBA championship since Juwan Howard did it with the Miami Heat in the 2012-13 season. He is the first Michigan State player to win an NBA title since Shannon Brown won one with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010.
Perhaps the most impressive stat is that Green becomes the first full-time starter to play at a Big Ten school and win an NBA championship since former Michigan standout Glen Rice won it all with the Lakers back in 2000. Michael Finley, who played at Wisconsin, was on the San Antonio Spurs 2007 NBA championship team. He started only 16 regular season games, but did start all 20 postseason games that year for the Spurs.
Green, who has made a name for himself as being one of the most multidimensional players in the NBA this season, averaged 13.7 points, 10.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game in postseason play.
In Tuesday night's deciding 105-97 win over Cleveland, Green totaled 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, his first triple-double of the postseason, and only the fifth in franchise history. Green also added 11 double-doubles and recorded double-digit points and six-or-more rebounds in 16 of the Warrior's 21 playoff games this season.
But far more important than any stat line is that Green now has an NBA championship trophy to add to his large, impressive collection of hardware.
This is a guy who has been a winner everywhere he's been. In high school, Green led Saginaw High to a combined 53-2 record and back-to-back Class A State Championships in his junior and senior seasons.
At Michigan State, all Green did was post a combined 107-39 record during his four years in East Lansing. That includes three Big Ten regular season championships, one Big Ten Tournament championship, and two Final Four appearances.
Green has accomplished every basketball player's dream. He has won on every level, from Saginaw High, to Michigan State, to now, in the NBA.
Tuesday night's championship was a rallying cry for a franchise that hasn't won an NBA title since 1975, and the often outspoken Green was right in the middle of it all.
Rising superstar or NBA villain, call Draymond Green whatever you want.
But whatever adjective you use to describe him, make sure to include the word "winner" in the mix as well.