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Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green has learned about himself from his kids

The four-time NBA champion talks the importance of being a present father, the challenges of fatherhood as an NBA player and more

Four-time NBA champion Draymond Green had more free time than he’s accustomed to during the NBA playoffs as his Golden State Warriors were eliminated in the second round. There is a silver lining, however: lots of family time with his children.

“I don’t really got no hobbies, man,” Green told Andscape. “I spend a lot of time with my family and my kids. That s— teaches you a lot about yourself dealing with them kids. You know what I learned dealing with my kids? Dealing with them you learn, ‘Oh, s—, I do that. Like, I need to do this differently because they get that, too.’ And so, spending a lot of time with my kids has taught me so much about myself.”

Green has two biological children in Draymond Jamal Jr. and Cash. The four-time NBA All-Star, who is married to actress Hazel Renee, also has a daughter, Olive Pullen, from a previous relationship. The 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year is known for bringing his children to the practice facility at Chase Center after games and to his postgame press conference. Draymond Jr. has been a Warriors ball boy as well. Draymond Green has previously thanked the Warriors and the NBA for the “special” opportunity to involve his children at work.

With Father’s Day arriving on Sunday, Green talked exclusively to Andscape in the following Q&A about the importance of being a present father, the challenges of fatherhood as an NBA player, his relationship with his father and stepdaughter’s father and much more.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green celebrates with his daughter Cash Green after Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Western Conference finals on March 26, 2022, at Chase Center in San Francisco.

Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

How much time do you get to spend with your children during the season?

As much time as a I can. I do a lot of school drop-offs. You want to get that 30 minutes across the Bay Bridge. That’s meaningful time. So, I try to do as many of those rides as I can. When you get home, lock in with them. Spend that time with them. Because No. 1, they need it.

You said you have learned about yourself through your children. Can you expound?

My temperament. How I react to things. How things bother me. How you get bothered by something, how to handle that. How to work through things, because what you end up doing is, you’ll see something with them and you’re like, ‘Yo, do this, this way, this, this that way.’ And what you’re really teaching them is how to work through things.

We all need to continue to better ourselves and work through situations. So, for me, working through issues has been a really big thing that my kids and my wife has taught me. It’s been great.

What is your relationship with your father?

I grew up with a father. I’m not someone who didn’t grow up with a father. I had some events that happened in my life that kind of shook that up for me. Say, age 12 or 13. But I would not disrespect guys who did not grow up with a father or man in their life. After 12, I lived in the house with my mom. Just her. But I grew up with a father, my grandfather, uncles. I grew up with some great men in my life.

What did those men teach you that sticks with you now?

Responsibility. Just watching how they operated and took responsibility for things that didn’t necessarily go their way. And never folding under any situation. Take responsibility. Stand up to whatever that situation is, and you got to figure it out. Good, bad, or indifferent. Stand up to that s—. Own it. Stand on it. And for me, my mom as well. She stands on whatever it is that you say you did, stand on that.

How’s your relationship with your dad now?

It’s okay. So, it’s good. For me, I think, that’s something that’s always going to improve and get better. But I don’t have no complaints.

What’s the difference between raising a son, and daughters?

Oh, man. It’s totally different. Just how you accept things. How you teach them. Trying to teach a girl to be independent, yet not so independent to where they don’t know how to work with someone. Independent to the point where they don’t need me anymore. Finding that balance. I try to teach my son how to, ‘Boy, you got to stand on your own feet on everything that you do.’ Ultimately knowing that I got your back no matter what. But you got to stand on your own two feet, because this world will force you as a man to stand on your own two feet. And for me, the life my kids grow up living terrifies me.


Because, man. I understand… I understand what Saginaw, Michigan, did for me. I understand, and they don’t get that. And understanding that, and the things that did for me and how it affected me, and the things that it taught me. Where are they going to get that from? Because they’re not getting it in their everyday life. And so, just trying to instill different lessons and toughness that I grew up with.

Quite frankly, my son don’t have to have that type of toughness. But you do have to have mental toughness. You do have to go through some s—. And you try to let them go through things and not just jumping away, but yet show support, but also understand, you got to work it out. Whatever the situation is, you got to work through that, because again, where else are you going to get that from?

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (right) warms up with his son, Draymond Jr. (left), before a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chase Center on April 4 in San Francisco.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Your son serves as a guest ball boy at times, hangs in the locker room and attends some practice. What is that experience like for him?

It’s the best. No. 1, for him to see the environment and understand it. You probably see my son a lot because when he’s with me, he’s extremely immersed into it. But you also don’t see him quite a bit because he’s only with me half the time. I wish he was with me all the time, but it just didn’t work out that way. When he is with me, I try to pour everything into him and allow him to be a part of everything because he only get that half the time and it’s unfortunate.

How does he have the maturity at 6 years old to be a ball boy at games?

He does things before the game and he does things after the game. He really enjoys it. And I also let him kind of do his own thing in there, not try to monitor every little thing he does. If he wants to go do that thing, go ahead. Because for me, most importantly, it’s his presence. You got to have a presence. And when you walk in here, people should feel you. When you are in the room, people should feel that. And so, for me, I’m never trying to stop him from doing anything. Obviously, if you see him doing something wrong, you going to correct him. But for the most part, I don’t want him to get in an environment to shrink.

I don’t give a [expletive] what environment you in, you stand up, you poke your chest out and you walk through there like you own the place. Because if you shrink in this room, you’ll shrink in the next one. I don’t care who in that room. You walked in there, so you in there, you stay, you hold your chest up and you keep it pushing.

Does he understand that already at his age?

One hundred percent. He walks in like he owns the place. And I love that. I love that. Because again, you can get very intimidated by this environment. He’s a kid, he go to school, and kids talking about Steph Curry, kids talking about Draymond Green, kids talking about Klay Thompson. You can get intimidated by that.

Nah, dude. Don’t get intimidated in no room you walk in. You walk in that room, you hold your head up, you poke your chest out and you go. Wherever you are going. Go. That’s what I’m trying to teach him.

Do you give your daughters the same lesson?

You definitely try to give them some of that. But my wife is great with that. I can’t teach them how to be in the room. I understand that. But my wife can, and she does an amazing job. And I know when she walks in the room. So, I know that she is teaching them.

You have a son from previous relationship, your wife has a daughter from a previous relationship. How did you guys find that kind of bond with each other’s children?

We love them like they’re your own. And it’s been that way since Day 1 when you accept someone with a child. I’d hope you’re not really accepting someone that doesn’t want to accept your child. And you can’t accept them if you’re not going to accept what comes with them. And so, for me, I was raised like that. And it’s such a special thing, you build such special bonds.

The way I always approach it is I want to always treat and love on that kid the same way I would want somebody to treat and love on my kid. There’s no difference in the love that I show her. There’s no difference in the lessons that I teach her, they’re all the same. They’re all going to get that love, no matter what… Like, don’t get me wrong. Her dad is incredible. He’s great, and we have a great relationship. I wish more people could be that way. So many times, you see s— and it’s nasty man. And it don’t have to be that way. I lived that. And it don’t got to be that way. It don’t have to be like that.

I’m very thankful of the relationship and really being able to pour into her. Because ultimately you pour as much as you can. But when you’re fighting someone on the other side, it’s brutal, man. So, the fact is that I’m able to openly pour into her with no words, no disdain from her father, man. That one of the most special things that I have in my life. Because that is not normal. We see it the opposite way, way more than we should. And it’s sad. It’s sad because ultimately it affects everybody and the kids. Most importantly, the kid. [It] affects them the most. So, I have a huge, huge, huge appreciation for that.

When you’re locked in during the playoffs, how do you still lock in when you have free time with them?

You give that time, and that focus. But it may be some late hours, and maybe some early mornings that you got to put the commitment into what we’re doing here. But at the same time, I still want to be there and still pour into them. So maybe it’s late hours during that time. You just find those times that you can do. I give everything that I got to give to this game. And it is not so great hours. It is what it is. But I don’t want to make them sacrifice their dad because I’m on a mission. No, that’s my mission and this is my mission. And how do I make them both work?

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for Andscape. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.