In the Warriors’ second-round victory in the NBA Playoffs against the Grizzlies, it was a battle of youth vs. experience.
After the series on Twitter, however, it was youth vs. youth.
Though the Warriors’ elder statemen, notably forward Draymond Green, said he’d take a pass on talking trash to the losing Grizzlies after the series-clinching, Game 6 win for Golden State, teenage rookie Jonathan Kuminga made no such gesture. He took to Twitter to throw Memphis’ battle cry back in their face.
The Grizzlies like to play the song “Whoop that Trick” from the movie Hustle and Flow, in which the main character transitions from pimp to rapper, at their home games. In fact, Warriors superstar Stephen Curry said the Warriors’ game plan for Game 5 was to “whoop that trick,” but Golden State got whooped hard in Memphis and lost by 39 points.
It didn’t take long for Grizzlies guard Ja Morant to respond in kind to Kuminga’s post-series trash talk.
Kuminga felt like he’s earned enough stripes to reply to Morant, the emerging NBA superstar.
First of all, Morant’s credibility on Twitter is probably at an all-time low. He said Warriors G Jordan Poole “broke the code” after Morant suffered a knee injury in Game 4, only to delete his tweet minutes later.
Secondly, Morant is a kid in his own right at 22 years old, and I haven’t seen him waiting for any outside validation as he rightfully celebrates his own victories with youthful abandon either on the court, on social media, or both.
Thirdly, Kuminga has earned his stripes already, though he has a long way to go, too. He’s in the Western Conference Finals now, a place Morant has never been. And Kuminga didn’t just sit on the bench against Memphis. He started two games, and though it didn’t go as well as the Warriors would have liked, Kuminga is a dangerous option on a championship-caliber team at just 19 years old.
But hey, at least Morant hasn’t deleted his tweet. The young Grizzlies seem to think they are next up with the Warriors’ core three getting up there in age. But Memphis still has the Warriors’ youth to deal with in the coming years, led by Kuminga and G Jordan Poole.
And though Morant apparently believes he’s on a higher plane than Kuminga — and he is, in some ways, of course — Kuminga will be playing in the conference finals as Morant watches from home. At least Morant will have a front-row seat to watch Kuminga earn more “stripes” and become yet another obstacle to Morant’s own goal to make it past the Warriors in the years to come.