From the social-justice messaging to the play on the court, these NBA Finals have shown some players at their best. But they’ve also shown some fans at their worst, with Lakers guard Danny Green and his fiancée both receiving death threats.
Green missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with .07 seconds left in Miami’s 111-108 Game 5 win over Los Angeles Friday night. And after the tilt – one that would’ve clinched a title for the Lakers – the New York native said fans have not only sent death threats to him but to his fiancée, Blair Bashen, on social media.
“I haven’t really paid (attention). I don’t really pay…I just block, ignore. I’ve gotten so many messages I can’t even hit the delete alt button. I just don’t read them,” Green said before Sunday’s Game 6. “I know she doesn’t get as many and she doesn’t have as many followers so it’s probably closer, she can see more of it.
“I had to ask her (Saturday) ‘Are you getting death threats?’ And she was like ‘Yeah; you are, too.’ I don’t know, because I don’t really pay attention or care. Nor am I shaken a word about it.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Green has been subjected to this. And in a sad indictment on society, the Long Islander has become desensitized to it by now.
While playing for Toronto last June, he got constant hate mail and death threats after a Game 6 foul on Golden State’s Klay Thompson.
Despite Thompson ending up suffering a torn ACL, the Warriors players had gone up to Green to tell him the play wasn’t dirty. Even the injured Thompson let Green know he didn’t think it was purposeful. Yet the death threats ensued anyway.
“Being conditioned from before that moment to the social media that I was getting it didn’t change or faze in way shape of from the last 36 hours my mindset,” said Green, who was born in North Babylon and starred at St. Mary’s in Manhasset. “I probably should be a little more paranoid or a little more safe about things. I am safe usually in terms of most scenarios.
“But I’m just not one of those guys who is going to live my life that way worried about what other people think, say or do. I’m usually protected, usually safe. Usually, I’m confident and secure in my own mind in my own home. But if something does come up I’m sure it’ll come our way. (Blair) will find it or we’ll see it. But it’s a basketball game; people are emotional. Fans are emotional.
“I hope they don’t take it that seriously. I hope they’re that passionate about voting or getting justice for people that deserve justice. We’ll get some better change along the country. But it’s a basketball game. At the end of the day, they’re taking out their emotions and need somebody to blame. It came down to that last play of course I’m the easy target.”
That last play came with the Lakers down 109-108 in the waning moments. LeBron James drove to the basket and drew two Miami defenders with him. He kicked the ball back out to a wide-open Green, a career .400 shooter from deep who made a record of 23 3-pointers in the Finals seven years ago.
But with nobody within eight feet of him, Green took a hurried dribble and missed a rushed shot that clanked off the front rim with .07 seconds to play. The Lakers rebounded, but Markieff Morris committed a game-sealing turnover with .02 seconds left.
“I had more time than I realized. I should’ve taken more time. I probably rushed it a little bit. I was a little off balance,” Green said. “But we got a good look, we got a second opportunity. If I could get that play back again, I’d give anything to get that shot back, trust me.”
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