Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has trolled the Cleveland Cavaliers and their fans at every turn (or every parade), which is interesting, since his punch to LeBron James’ groin in Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals delivered the only championship in Cavs history. But that’s neither here nor there.
We’re here for another punch — an alleged one thrown by Cavs center Tristan Thompson to Green’s face at an ESPYs after-party. Reports conflict about whether it was “more of a shove” or “a lot more of a knockdown, drag-out than was being reported,” “a sucker punch” or “a legit punch, maybe even a quick one-two.” All reports seem to agree that it required LeBron James and Kevin Durant to intervene.
This is both hilarious, because Green essentially told Thompson to “meet him in the streets any day” after Golden State’s four-game sweep of Cleveland in this year’s finals, and disturbing, because, you know, punching people in the face, even when they’ve punched your friends in the groin and publicly challenged you to a fight, isn’t the best problem-solving method. It’s all just absurd is what it really is.
Cavaliers fan Connor McKenney figured he’d capitalize on that absurdity and maybe even ensure some good comes from it. Inspired by Cleveland’s “Browns Perfect Season Parade,” celebrating their football team’s 0-16 campaign, the Kent State University student organized the “Tristan Thompson Parade Because He Punched Draymond Green,” slated for 3:10 p.m. on Oct. 13 outside Quicken Loans Arena.
“We would all like to punch Draymond in the face, so we need to celebrate someone who (probably) did!” reads McKenney’s description of the event on Facebook. “Bring canned goods I guess. Go Cavs.”
The event went viral, and by Friday it had more than 18,000 interested or committed to attend.
Never at a loss for words, Green got wind of the event and responded on social media, first downplaying the punch, then telling Cavaliers fans they should cancel their parade, and finally informing them, “Nah keep the parade that city won’t have any for a while … I forgot Bron left.”
When Yahoo’s Dan Devine reached out to McKenney, the diehard Cavs fan said that, while he “certainly [does] not wish any serious injury on any players, even Draymond Green,” he was glad “we rattled him enough to respond to the parade.” In the end, “It’s all in good fun,” said McKenney. Here’s Devine’s Q&A with McKenney on why he started it, if it’s really happening, and how the city has gotten involved.
DD: So: why a parade? What about this story made you think “we need public celebration downtown”?
CM: We want a “public celebration downtown” because it just sounds like a fun idea. I attended the Perfect Season Parade and enjoyed the camaraderie and fun with other Cleveland sports fans. Draymond has taken his shots at Cleveland and our players on and off the court for many years now. It’s really a celebration of everything we love about the Cavs and against all the things we dislike about Golden State.
DD: It did not take very long for your posting to blow up. What was your reaction watching thousands and thousands of people express an interest in actually turning up to physically celebrate Tristan Thompson allegedly punching Draymond Green?
CM: I really thought the post would just make its rounds around Cleveland sports Twitter and my family and friends, but it certainly received more attention than I expected. I was really excited to see the amount of people willing to come out and have fun celebrating the Cavs, our city, and poke fun at the possibility of a fight against one of our rivals.
DD: You uploaded a photo of the permits necessary to set this up as an actual event. A. Have you filed them yet? B. Did you actually have to interact with a city public official to get the paperwork and tell them what the proposed event was? C. If so, what was their reaction?
CM: I downloaded the application online and have been in beginning talks with the city about the potential for a parade or some sort of event downtown. We are working on nailing down some of the charitable details and how much money will be necessary to make this happen, but are working on solidifying those as well.
DD: A lot of fans, Cavs and casuals alike, seem to be into the idea for one reason or another. Others, though, have objected to it, whether on grounds that this promotes violence, or makes Cavs fans and Cleveland as a city seem kind of petty or small-time. What’s your response to people who think that this kind of celebration isn’t a good look?
CM: I certainly do not wish any serious injury on any players, even Draymond Green for that matter. As more comes out about the alleged incident, it seems that it was just a minor scuffle that was broken up quickly. I think there’s a lot of people in Cleveland who have been frustrated over the past four years in the finals and Green’s antics on the court, so I guess they were interested in an event to cheer for someone who fought back. Draymond is certainly an excellent basketball player, but he does love to play the villain. I’m looking forward to celebrating what I love about Cleveland and the passionate fans of this city. It’s all in good fun.
DD: What did you think of Draymond’s response to the parade?
CM: I love that we rattled him enough to respond to the parade. Unfortunately, we are still moving forward with the planning for Oct. 13. And like Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals, we will probably not see him at the event, but wish him the best with another all-star on his team. It’s great that we rattled him enough to get a response. Go Cavs.
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