JaVale McGee's NBA career was in limbo after the Dallas Mavericks waived the big man in 2016. The Warriors were waiting with an offer for the 2016-17 NBA season, however, which provided a second wind to McGee's career.
The 35-year-old appeared on the latest episode of "The Draymond Green Show," where he discussed his arrival to the Bay Area and how being part of the Warriors squad was an eye-opening experience.
"[The Mavericks] didn't pick up my option the second year in Dallas. I [got] a call from [the Warriors]," McGee told Green. "But the caveat about this is it's not guaranteed. We got a spot for you, [it's] not guaranteed. It won't be guaranteed until January, so you want it or not?
"In my mind, I'm like, 'Do I want to go to a championship team? Yeah, for sure. I'm definitely going.' So I [went] and that whole experience, it changed my mindset on how basketball is supposed to be played in a team aspect. It changed my mindset on how it's a players league and players communicate with their coaches, with their GM and full transparency, and also, just like the college mindset, rather than, no, this is my peer, this is my coworker. It changed my mindset on that aspect, and it really just showed what championship basketball is about."
McGee explained how playing for the Warriors changed the perspective many around the NBA had of him, considering the big man's play was prone to going viral for the wrong reasons.
"By far, [joining the Warriors] changed my career," McGee continued. "I always had that perspective. That chip on my shoulder of, 'This is the guy from Shaqtin' a Fool. This is the guy who made funny plays and this and that. He's not that smart.' And definitely going to Golden State changed [that perspective]."
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The No. 18 overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft proved to be a vital pickup for the Warriors as McGee averaged 5.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.4 assists per game off the bench during his two seasons. But more importantly, the center was on Golden State's championship squads in 2017 and 2018.
Since leaving Golden State in 2018, McGee has been able to parlay that championship and veteran experience into a longer NBA career that might not have happened had it not been for his stint with the Warriors.