OAKLAND — The Golden State Warriors aren’t easily starstruck. Why would they be when they regularly draw the biggest celebrities — Beyonce, Larry David and Dave Chappelle to name a few — to their games?
But at the team headquarters on Tuesday, they were greeted with a surprise that left even the most celebrated athletes with their mouths agape.
Music industry legends Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine were there to make this year’s basketball and business meeting a little bit more engaging than the typical salary-cap instructional meeting that the players’ union arranges annually.
“I’m pretty geeked up about that,” Draymond Green said. “We always have those meetings and they can get kind of boring and redundant. But I’m excited about this one.”
Director of Player Programs Jonnie West set up the meeting and the NBA approved it.
Head coach Steve Kerr was excited about the opportunity to get his players in front of successful businessmen who — among other things — sold the Beats Electronics headphone company to Apple in 2014 for $3 billion.
“Dre’s impact in music and in general in the black community — to go from music to one of the biggest CEOs we’ve seen — giving kids that hope, coming from Compton. It’s just showing there are ways out,” Green said. “It’s special.”
Green counts himself as a huge fan of Dr. Dre, calling The Chronic a top-three album of all time. But even with that high praise, he isn’t the biggest champion of the pair on the team. That would be Kevin Durant, who admitted to watching The Defiant Ones — an HBO documentary profiling Dre and Iovine — every day for a month-and-a-half straight.
“They have like the soundtrack to my life as a basketball player,” Durant told reporters in December.
The meeting was interactive and covered several nebulous topics. Green hoped it would cover how Dre and Iovine work together, despite having what Green deemed to be different upbringings. Dre was born in Compton and rose to affluence thanks to his music career while Iovine was a Brooklyn-bred college dropout who worked his way into the industry in the 1970s.
While describing what he learned, Green left a particularly fitting explanation for why he admired Dre so much.
“I think what a lot of people realize about Dre is — as good as The Chronic was, as good as some of the hits him and Snoop got together — some of his best work was behind the scenes,” Green explained. “That’s what makes him so special. Like, yeah he made great music by himself … but his ability to make others great, that’s what’s special.”
He then brought it back to how it could be applied to his profession.
“You look at guys in our sport and there’s a lot of guys who can get it themselves. There aren’t a lot of guys who can make others great,” Green said. “And that’s kind of where you see the transcendent talent when you can make everyone else around you better.”