At the height of their run, the Golden State Warriors captured three Championships in a five-year span, marking one of the greatest eras by any team in NBA history.
Still, it wasn't a perfect stretch, by any means. In fact, it was really one series, in particular, that really put a blemish on their otherwise amazing campaign, and which forever changed the course of basketball history.
In 2016, after breaking the record for most wins in a season (73), the Warriors beat the Oklahoma City Thunder from down 3-1 to make a return to the Finals, where a rematch was set against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Pretty soon, the Warriors were up in the series, just one game away from securing their second-straight title.
Instead, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off a rather unbelievable upset, roaring back from the brink of elimination to beat the Warriors in 7 Games.
Looking back, it's impossible to say there was just one particular element that forced things Cleveland's way, but there was definitely a turning point in the series.
Speaking on 97.5 "The Game," Andre Iguodala (who was there for that Finals series) recalled what it was that led to their demise, pointing out Draymond Green's suspension as the moment where everything changed.
“There were some external factors, if y’all want some, some tea. You know, I mean Draymond got suspended during the series for some odd reason.
He missed Game 5. And that was a home game, we’re going back with a 3-1 lead, you know. And that changed the whole series right there.”
The nature of Draymond's suspension is controversial to this day. According to the league, he was benched for Game 5 after getting a flagrant foul (he had already accumulated three throughout that playoff run) for making "unnecessary contact with a retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin."
Without Green for that close-out game, Golden State was missing a major component of their system, and they just weren't able to close it out.
Fans still point to the suspension today as the reason the Warriors lost that series, but it's also important to remember he did return for Games 6 and 7, both games where the Warriors failed to capitalize on their opportunity.
Whoever, or whatever, you blame, there's no going back to change things now. In the aftermath of their defeat, Golden State would make amends, recruiting Kevin Durant to help them win another pair of Championships over the two seasons that followed.
As for LeBron, his legacy was forever elevated by his Finals performance that year. Perhaps he should thank Draymond Green for earning himself that suspension...