Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert has voiced his empathy for Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, who is currently serving an indefinite suspension from the NBA. This gesture of understanding comes despite their history of on-court confrontations and verbal exchanges.
Understanding Beyond Rivalry
Gobert's comments followed the NBA's decision to suspend Green for striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face, an action deemed unsportsmanlike by the league. This isn't Green's first suspension; he previously faced a five-game ban for putting Gobert in a chokehold during a scuffle involving Golden State guard Klay Thompson and Minnesota forward Jaden McDaniels on Nov.
14. Despite being on the receiving end of Green's physical aggression and verbal jabs over the years, Gobert showed concern for Green's mental and emotional state.
Speaking to ESPN after the Timberwolves' victory over the Dallas Mavericks, Gobert said, "I have empathy for him.
You see somebody that's not well inside and suffering. You see somebody that's not well inside and suffering. You take away the game and all that, and you want somebody to be well and be able to do what we do every night and compete and be happy."
Balancing Safety and Fairness
Gobert acknowledged the need for the league's intervention to ensure the safety of all players.
However, he refrained from commenting on the fairness of Green's indefinite suspension due to the uncertainty surrounding its duration.
"I'm not sure what that really means, so it's hard to tell," Gobert said. "I mean, you don't want someone to get badly hurt.
You've got to fix that. That's it."
"The one who choked Rudy [Gobert], the one who took a wild flail at Jusuf, the one who punched Jordan [Poole] last year -- that's the guy who needs to change," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
"This is not just about an outburst on the court. It's about his life. It's about someone who I believe in, someone I have known for decades, who I love for his loyalty."