Huddle Up is a weekly Q&A with a Cardinals player on a topic outside of football. In this week's installment, linebacker LaMarr Woodley talks about growing up with Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green in Saginaw, Michigan.
Question: How much older are you than Draymond?
Answer: Four (years)? Five? Something like that.
Q: Obviously he's known as an outgoing guy. Was he always like that when he was younger?
A: Oh, man. He's always been an outgoing guy. He's a guy that talks a lot of trash, but a guy that also cares about a lot of people and his community. I tell people all the time, that guy you see on the basketball court, it's good to be that aggressive to bring fire to your team. But one thing you can say about Draymond is he doesn't do the same thing off the court. You never hear about him getting in any trouble. He doesn't take his on-the-court aggression off the court.
Q: When he was going against you or other older guys, was he ever intimidated? Was he still always talking?
A: He was always a competitor. We used to be at the Civitan Recreation Center, which was a recreation center that was hooked up to our elementary school. When the older guys like myself were out there playing basketball, you hear this little guy talking about how he got 'Next.' It's like, 'Man, you ain't got no next. You're too little.' But he would always fight it because he wasn't going to allow you to take his 'Next.' That's how he was.
Q: How much do you think that helped his career?
A: I think it helped a lot. A lot of kids when they're younger, that's when they get competitive, because they're going against older guys. The older guys are not taking it easy on him, and he didn't expect for the older guys to take it easy on him, because he was in the fight like everybody else. Then he'd go against guys his age, and he started dominating them. He was used to older guys beating up on him.
Q: What's it been like to see both of you have so much success?
A: It's great. His high school, college career, now professional career, just to see him have success is always great. When he does great things, I feel like I'm doing great things as well because I have such a personal relationship with him. And then also, being from the same city, that shines a positive light on our city. When he did it, man, it was like I won a championship. I've never actually missed any of his championship games. I've been to both of the championships he won in high school. I was at the Final Four when he played at Michigan State at Ford Field. This championship game (when the Warriors beat the Cavaliers). I'm very supportive of him and his family.
Q: So you were at the clincher in the NBA finals? What was that like?
A: It was in Cleveland, so it's always a hostile area. But Golden State went down there and took care of business. It was very exciting to watch that.
Q: Has he been able to come out and watch you with the Cardinals, or in past seasons?
A: He hasn't gotten a chance (this year) because they just started training camp, but when I was with the Steelers and I played out in Oakland, he came out there for a few games. And when I played for Oakland (last season) he was out there watching. He supports me the same way I support him.
Q: And you guys run a club basketball team together?
A: Yeah, the Greenwood Elite AAU basketball program.
Q: How did that come about? Did you tell him you wanted to do it, or did he come to you?
A: I talked to him about it, because I've been involved with AAU basketball for about four or five years. Draymond, being in the NBA, I'm thinking, 'How can an NFL guy be doing it and an NBA guy is not involved with it?' I wanted him to get his first few years in the league before I brought it to him. Once I brought it to him, we put it together and made it work.
Q: And how is the team doing?
A: Oh, great. We've got some great players on that team. We went to a lot of tournaments and competed. Our 16U actually beat one of the top teams in the country, the Michigan Mustangs, in their own tournament this year. So I feel great about what we've got coming up.
Q: Do you guys coach?
A: We'll be there, but we're not coaching.
Q: Are you the guys yelling from the stands?
A: No, no, no, we let the coaches do their jobs. I don't do any of that. That ain't my place (laughter).