Former Michigan State Spartan and second round pick Draymond Green finally broke through last season for the Golden State Warriors, becoming one of the key players as the Warriors took home their first NBA Title in 40 years. The forward's productive season and value to Golden State ultimately led him to getting a sizable pay increase, jumping up from a three year contract worth $2.6 million all the way to a five year, $82 million contract. Green, who earned a total of $2,640,743 in base salary his first three seasons, will now be set to earn over $14 million in 2015-16.
With the increase in money Green decided to give some back to his former school, donating a whopping $3.1 million to Michigan State. That amount surpassed the previous high for a donation by a former student-athlete, which was $2.5 million from Steve Smith. Green, who played for State from 2008-12, was a key reason the Spartans won three conference titles and made two Final Four appearances over that time frame and ended his career as a consensus first-team All-American in 2012.
Green's $3.1 million donation to the basketball program will result in the school naming the Draymond Green Strength and Conditioning Center at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center in his honor. According to the Detroit Free Press, $1 million of his donation will go towards the strength and conditioning center and the remaining $2.1 million will fund an endowment to help pay for scholarships. His donation towards the strength and conditioning center will also cover a hall of history and a grand entrance to the Breslin Center.
Green mentioned that he was "not expected to be a pro or doing what I'm doing today" and then credited the university for helping him get to where he is now. "So can I come in here and take credit for that, or do I give the credit where it's rightfully due, which is this university? And if so, how do I show my thanks? That was just a small way of me saying thank you," Green said. He also showed his appreciation for head coach Tom Izzo, adding "One thing coach Izzo used to always tell me is ‘I'm living my dream. All I want to do is see you live yours.’ As a freshman, it's hard to believe that. The way he's on you, you don't understand it, it's hard to believe it. Once you realize, ‘This guy wants me to be successful more than I want to be successful,’ it develops that love and makes you want to come back and give back to these guys like others have done for me."
The donation definitely left an impression on Tom Izzo. "“I don’t know what to say. I mean, he had me speechless...Proud, excited, grateful would be the words that I'd look at. I'm proud of him," stated Izzo.
Green's donation is also timely as he made sure to make his contribution the week heading up to the Michigan State and Oregon football game, the year's first top ten matchup and the host site for Gameday this weekend. With the game set to be a major recruiting tool, the news of Green's contribution and the NBA star's involvement with the program might definitely help with the program's ability to reach out to potential recruits. Either way, Green's donation is a perfect way for the pro to give back to his school and assist eventual Michigan State players as they try to reach their dream like Green was able to do so.
Draymond Green became a star at Michigan State and found a way to do so at the NBA level as well. While he's moved on to his professional career, he is still finding a way to positively impact the Spartans once again.