Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has been an All-Star three times in his career. This year though, he wasn’t selected to participate in the annual exhibition. So, instead of traveling to Atlanta for the 2021 NBA All-Star game, Green spent the brief break getting ready for the second half of the season — and promoting his new partnership with Subway.
In order to celebrate the release of his own sandwich with Subway — steak, provolone cheese, and Chipotle Southwest sauce with green peppers, onions, and veggies — Green took a few minutes to talk with CBS sports. The conversation extended beyond sandwiches too, as Green also discussed the abnormality of the current season, his expectations for the Warriors moving forward, and his basketball legacy. Check out the full interview below.
CBS Sports: I wanted to start off by asking you about your new partnership with Subway. How did that come about and why did you feel like it was a good fit for you and your brand?
Draymond Green: The new partnership came about in November. I first found out about it in early November. Subway reached out and spoke to my team about the campaign that they would be launching and it kind of just moved from there. For me, three or four years ago I stopped kind of just doing everything and I kind of came up with this whole strategy of ‘what do I want my brand to be?’ And when you see something involving me, it should tell some story. And so for me, Subway reaching out was a big deal because I have loved Subway since the first time I tasted it at the age of 11.
Back then we couldn’t quite afford for me to always get Subway. But any chance I would get the opportunity I would. I worked my first job at 13 and right outside the building, literally 15 steps away was a Subway. So I would get my checks on Fridays, and for lunch the next week I would be able to get Subway with my check. It was such an important and fun partnership for me to get involved with because it took me back. It took me back [to being] that little kid that wanted Subway but couldn’t necessarily afford it.
Understanding that there is a young kid in a similar situation as I was growing up that’s going to walk into a Subway and see a sandwich by me — the opportunity for that young kid to dream is so important to me. And so yes it starts off as a sub sandwich, and it goes so much deeper, for me, because that sub sandwich means so much more to me than just me eating a sub on any particular day. It takes me back to a place. It gives me a different understanding. It takes me back to just appreciating everything that we have, everything that I have. Because I remember the days of walking in a Subway, absolutely loving Subway, and absolutely not being able to afford it.
CBS: How fun was it to film the [Subway] commercial with Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum? It’s a funny one.
Green: Oh, it was cool. It was definitely a cool commercial to shoot. Obviously, with the COVID protocols and stuff it gets a bit weird, but it’s a cool process. Going through the different takes of saying different things and then seeing the production of the commercial and how it actually turned out. It was an extremely fun commercial to shoot, and I’m hoping that my sub sells more than [Tatum’s].
CBS: I want to switch over to the court for a minute. You just mentioned the COVID protocols for the commercial, and I was wondering how different this NBA season has been from a player’s perspective with all of the testing, health and safety protocols, and postponed games. Obviously, from a media perspective, it’s very different since we don’t have direct access to players or locker rooms.
Green: [It’s been] extremely different, and extremely tough. You’re essentially isolated from everyone. And you’re playing in stadiums with no fans. That’s tough. Just not being able to live your normal life. And by the way, there’s people going through way worse things than an [abnormal] NBA season. So, by no means am I not taking into consideration what a lot of people, mostly everybody in this world, is going through. By no means is that what I’m doing. But I do want to share some of the struggles of my life. That’s what this is about. And so in saying that, it’s just been a different season, [because of] all those things I just mentioned.
You’re going on the road and you’re stuck in these hotels for however many amount of days you’re there for. However long the road trip is. If it’s a 10-day road trip, you’re stuck in a hotel room for 10 days, going to the gym and back to the hotel room. Some nights we get take out orders of food and it’s cold. Just different things that have been a little challenging. In saying that, you have to applaud the NBA on finding different ways to get through because I think at the end of the day we’re all just trying to get through it and get to the other side. It’s something that started off as something we thought would lock us in the house for a week or two and we would be back outside and life would be normal. And here we are a whole year later, and still dealing with a lot of the same things. So, it’s definitely been challenging. But, we get to do what we love, which is to play basketball. We get to earn our living, which a lot of people, that’s been stripped from them. So as tough as it’s been, I’m still very appreciative of the situation that we’re in because it could be a lot worse.
CBS: With all of those things you just mentioned that you’ve had to deal with, how do you feel about your team’s performance during the first half of the season, and what are your expectations for the rest of the season?
Green: I think our performance has been pretty good, all things considered. I think we definitely let some games get away that we should have won. The true mark of a young team, not executing down the stretch. I think as the season continues to go on, and as we continue to spend more and more time together, that gets better. But overall I think we’re in a pretty good spot, right on the outside of the playoffs. I think this team is poised to put a run together, to start the second half strong, make this playoff push, and I think if we get into the playoffs not many people are going to want to see us in the first round.
CBS: When you ultimately decide to call it a career, what do you want your basketball legacy to be?
Green: A guy that affected winning like nobody in the history of the NBA. I think we always talk about scoring, we always talk about passing and dunking and ballhandling and all of these things, but there is no category for who affected winning. And for me, that’s what it’s all about — how can I affect winning? And so when I’m done playing this game, that’s what I want my legacy to be. How much that guy affected winning. He probably didn’t shoot it as good as one guy, he didn’t dribble it as good as the next one, didn’t jump as high as the next guy, wasn’t as fast as another guy, but the way he affected winning was like no other. That’s what I want my legacy to be.