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Just over a week before the official start of the 2022-23 NBA season, Draymond Green plunged the defending champion Golden State Warriors into chaos when he punched teammate Jordan Poole in the face during a practice fight. The incident reminded many of a legendary story from the 1990s when Michael Jordan famously punched his teammate — and Green’s current head coach — Steve Kerr, during a heated practice. And while many pundits cited that fight in relation to the Draymond Green-Jordan Poole incident, a lot of them pointed out one major difference: Michael Jordan was a lot better than Draymond Green. 

Michael Jordan punched his teammate in a very different era than Draymond Green did

(L-R) Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors Draymond Green and Jordan Poole.
(L-R) Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr, Draymond Green and Jordan Poole | ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP via Getty Images; Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Comparing the reaction of Draymond Green punching Jordan Poole to Michael Jordan punching Steve Kerr is like comparing Zack Morris’ mobile phone to the iPhone 14. It’s nearly impossible because the times (and the technology) are so different. 

Jordan and Kerr didn’t have to deal with a legion of beat reporters, social media, and the technology that allows anyone to become paparazzi at any time. There wasn’t a video of Jordan punching Kerr, and if there were, it wouldn’t go around the world on Twitter to millions of people in a matter of minutes like the Green-Poole video did. 

In fairness to Green, if fans saw Jordan punching Kerr with our own eyes, we might feel quite a bit different than we do now. 

That said, the situation is what it is, and we all did see Green viciously sucker-punch Poole in a matter of moments after TMZ Sports posted the video. 

And with that as the reality, social media did its thing and explained to the world why — era differences notwithstanding — fans are much harder on Green than Jordan for punching his teammate. 

Social media reaction to Michael Jordan-Steve Kerr, Draymond Green-Jordan Poole comparisons

As things do on Twitter, the comparisons between the Michael Jordan-Steve Kerr incident and the Draymond Green-Jordan Poole punch came quickly after the video came out. 

While some people (seemingly mostly Warriors fans) used the Jordan-Kerr incident to justify or rationalize what Green did to Poole, others were quick to point out one big difference. That distinction is that MJ is the greatest of all time and the best player on the Chicago Bulls. 

On the other hand, Green is, at best, the third-best Warrior and, in the last year or two, that ranking may have dropped down a few pegs. The former second-round pick is clearly in decline as his athleticism slips, and his size and skill can’t compensate for that. 

Fox Sports’ Emmanuel Acho was among the most well-known personalities to lead the charge explaining the difference between the two incidents. Acho seeming tweeted directly at Green, writing, “You’re not Michael Jordan, this isn’t ‘The Last Dance.’ Jordan Poole is younger than you, smaller than you and y’all don’t win the chip without him. 

Matt Steinmetz, who works for the Warriors’ flagship radio station, 95.7-FM The Game, also distilled most of social media’s thoughts about the two situations. Steinmetz tweeted, “Draymond Green ain’t Michael Jordan and Jordan Poole alot better than Steve Kerr ever was.”

BSO’s Robert Littal had a similar take, tweeting, “Draymond Green is no Michael Jordan lol. If Steph Curry was punching people in the face It would be different. Hell even klay could probably get away with a left hook.”

And even media that covers other teams came away with the same opinion. Grizzlies writer and podcast host Nathan Chester tweeted, “People bringing up how Michael Jordan punched Steve Kerr…like man, Draymond isn’t good enough to be getting away with things like that anymore.”

The Warriors star got away with a slap on the wrist


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While Draymond Green may have got a raw deal from the media and the public, he may have lucked out by being with the Golden State Warriors. Perhaps because his coach, Steve Kerr, is that player Michael Jordan punched nearly a quarter-century ago, Green got off easy for his transgression. 

Initially, Green put himself in a timeout and stepped away from the team to “work on himself, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Hayes on Twitter

Apparently, five days was the number Green needed to do this work because, on Wednesday, Steve Kerr announced the player would return to the team on Thursday, October 13. Along with that return, there would be no suspension from the team, but his actions did come with an undisclosed fine. 

The moral of this story is that Draymond Green might not be Michael Jordan, but he is still a star, a four-time NBA champ, and a key piece of the Warriors’ title defense. And two-plus decades after Phil Jackson sent Steve Kerr the message that MJ could do what he wanted because of who he is, Kerr sent the same message to Poole. 

It worked out for the Bulls to the tune of their sixth NBA title in eight seasons. Will it end in a fifth in nine years for the Warriors? 

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