The Golden State Warriors’ dream season speeds forward into the Western Conference Finals, and Draymond Green continues to be the team’s driving force – no matter if he’s out on the floor or on the bench.
Averaging a hair over 37 minutes per game throughout this postseason, the versatile forward is rarely out of the game. Even with big numbers – 14 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two steals per contest – his impact on the outcome is at least as forceful in his role as head cheerleader. Just watch a game. While teammates sit and rest, the 25-year-old is often the only player standing at the edge of the baseline, towel draped over the shoulders of his bench tee, incessantly rooting and rumbling over the on-court action. And he’s at least as animated and energetic after the game’s final seconds have ticked off the clock as well.
Jockey great Willie Shoemaker “has victory in his grasp,” the commentator declared as the thoroughbreds charged the finish line at the 83rd running of the Kentucky Derby, in 1957. As Shoemaker rose in his stirrups to embrace his win, the crowd of 90,000 no doubt agreed. But a photo finish would reveal that the famed Texan had lost by the slimmest of margins — to a relative unknown named Bill Hartack.
For Al Horford, the moment could have played out so differently. During what would become a double-overtime victory for his NBA team, the Atlanta Hawks, Horford stretched out his right arm to block a pass — then grabbed near his shoulder in obvious pain. With his pectoral muscle completely torn, he missed the rest of that game, two-thirds of last season and his team’s run in the playoffs. Worse yet: That wasn’t the first time he ripped a pec. “It’s only happened in pro basketball three times,” Horford tells OZY, “and it’s happened to me twice.”