Draymond Green has faced a long list of NBA titans throughout his nine-year career. He has gone up against countless stars and future Hall of Famers. But when he came into the league as a 22-year-old rookie, only two players had him star struck.
The two? Kobe Bryant and Grant Hill.
"The thing that stood out to me the first time I played against Kobe, I think I've told this story before, but when I came into the NBA I was star struck by two guys: One was Kobe and the other was Grant Hill," Green said to reporters Monday night after the Warriors' win over the Los Angeles Lakers. "I grew up in Michigan watching Grant Hill play the Pistons with the turquoise and maroon jerseys, teal, whatever it was, and Grant Hill was amazing.
"So I was star struck by Grant Hill and Kobe."
Hill was 40 years old, playing his final season in the NBA when Green was a rookie. The former six-time All-Star wasn't even active when Draymond and the Warriors first played the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2012-13 season.
But when he first faced a 34-year-old Bryant, Kobe still was an All-Star. He averaged 27.3 points per game throughout Green's rookie year and still was a walking bucket. Bryant put up 27 points, seven assists and nine rebounds in a blowout win against the Warriors the first time Green played him, but it's what Kobe did before the game that still stands out most to Draymond.
"I think the thing that stood out to me the most about playing against Kobe that first time was his pregame warmup," Green said. "I finished my pregame warmup early. As a rookie you get there at like 3:30, 3:45 for a 7:30 game. As soon as I finished my warmup, he was coming on the floor, which No. 1 threw me off because I'm like why is he working out at 4 o'clock? It's a 7:30 game.
"I sat there and watched his entire workout realizing why he worked out for so long. He worked out for like 40 minutes. And I sat there and watched the entire workout. By the time I finished watching his entire workout, I had missed my lift, my treatment -- as a young guy you get the early slots and once you miss it it's over. I had missed everything.
"I think for me personally that was a moment in my life where it was just like, yo, I'm sitting here watching Kobe. Nothing else really mattered to me at that point."
So, that begs the question: Was it worth missing his own workout and treatment before the game?
"100 percent," Draymond said. "Nothing could replace that moment for me. It was great."