When Draymond Green sees Michigan State retire his No. 23 jersey Tuesday, Steve Kerr will be a part of the memories.
The coach will leave the Warriors’ five-game, eight-day road trip to witness Green, whom he calls the “heartbeat” of the team, earn one of the greatest honors a player can know.
“When I think about what’s he’s meant to the Warriors and my coaching career, the least I can do is be there for him on a big night," Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area. "There’s not even a second thought."
During this road trip, the Warriors have a stretch of three games in four days, including a back-to-back. The non-game day, Dec. 3, is when Green’s ceremony will happen, resulting in a span of four days in four different cities -- Orlando, Atlanta, East Lansing and Charlotte.
Green beamed when he talked about Kerr being there.
“For him to come up that day with me for a big moment for myself and my family … it really means a lot," Green told NBC Sports Bay Area. "There’s a lot of things he could be doing, like resting. Or a lot of other things on an off day rather than being in East Lansing, but I’m truly appreciative of that.”
Kerr balked at the idea of resting, and mentioned Warriors general manager Bob Myers and team owner Joe Lacob will travel for the ceremony, too.
“It’s a moment of respect,” Kerr said. “We’re honoring Draymond and showing the respect he deserves. This is one the biggest nights of his life and career. We should be there for him.”
Green was drafted by the Warriors in 2012. He’s in his eighth season with the team, and signed a four-year, $100 million contract extension this summer. These moments make him feel certain about his future.
“I’ve always talked about being a part of this organization forever,” Green said. “And it’s things like [this] that make you feel that way. It’s not that you win some games. It’s not that you got paid. It’s things like [this] that make you loyal to an organization. It means a lot to me.”
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Green's relationship with Kerr is special. Their fiery moments are part of an understanding that both demand the best on the court. With three NBA championships together, their bond is deep.
“There’s always love," Green said. "We’re both competitors. We both want to win. Neither one of us is gonna back down. That’s the exact reason both of us are in the position we’re in. It’s nothing but love and respect."