The past few years have seen significant numbers of active players doing some broadcasting. That’s sometimes led to concerns about those players gaining information on opponents through pre-game meetings, or to tampering issues when they discuss players on other teams. The latest issue is more basic, though; scheduling and travel. Golden State Warriors’ forward Draymond Green told Marc J. Spears of Andscape he was set to go to Los Angeles February 7 to be part of TNT’s broadcast of the Lakers’ game where LeBron James was likely to break the NBA scoring record, but coach Steve Kerr asked him to fly with the team to Portland (as it was the night before a game against the Trail Blazers) instead:
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) May 1, 2023
Here’s more from that piece, which covers the wider friendship between Green and James, on that specific broadcasting front:
“Yeah, I was definitely going,” Green told Andscape. “It was a TNT game. I was doing the broadcast and Steve said, ‘I don’t think that’ll be great for our team. While we’re flying out on the road, you’re flying to LA, guys see that, guys see you on the TV calling the game. This is a big game for us against Portland.’ I said, ‘All right, respect. No problem. I’ll be there with my team.’
“I flew to Portland, we got to get a win and we’re here. So, it definitely was something that I wanted to be present for. It was just such a big moment in life and friendship. But there will be other big moments and we’ll create great memories.”
There’s some logic to Kerr’s approach there. While there wasn’t a direct conflict with a Warriors’ game (the Lakers’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, where James did wind up breaking that record in a 133-130 loss, was Tuesday night, while the Warriors’ game against the Blazers, which they lost 125-122, was Wednesday night), he probably has a point that it could have been distracting for the team to have Green covering James’ scoring record for TNT the night before instead of with his Warriors’ teammates. And Green did start against Portland and had four points, six rebounds, and seven assists in 35 minutes, and there weren’t any questions about if he was distracted from a previous night’s trip and coverage on TNT.
Where that game came in Golden State’s season likely mattered, too. The team was only 28-26 heading into that game, in a battle for playoff positioning, and was only 7-20 on the road. If the likely scoring record game for James had come with the Warriors in firmer playoff position, or playing a lesser team the next day (where stars like Green might have at least been partially rested), or even playing at home the next day, Kerr might not have had an issue with Green going to Los Angeles for the TNT broadcast. But he did with the way things worked out, and Green seems ultimately fine with that, which is notable considering that Green’s relationship with Golden State coaches, executives, and teammates has not always been completely smooth.
This also fits into that larger discussion of active players broadcasting. The NBA hasn’t had quite as many controversies about player-broadcasters learning specific plays or other inside information as what we’ve heard discussed in the NFL, or with team advisor-broadcasters in MLB. But Green’s work on TNT has had its own controversies, with the ones around tampering particularly of note. And the discussion here shows the potential challenges for a player-broadcaster just with scheduling as well. The idea of active players broadcasting can be cool, and there’s certainly fan interest in it (and in the wide proliferation of active player podcasts, which Green has been a big part of), but it comes with hurdles. And this story illustrates that.
[Andscape; top photo of Green and Kerr during an Oct. 23, 2022 game from Darren Yamashita/USA Today Sports]