Being waived by the Dallas Mavericks in 2016 served as a blessing in disguise for JaVale McGee as he ultimately landed in the Golden State Warriors.
As he joined “The Draymond Green Show” (17:53 mark), McGee revealed his thought process of potentially joining the Dubs camp, as he went on to further detail how the organization changed his outlook in basketball.
“[The Mavericks] didn’t pick up my option the second year in Dallas. I [got] a call from [the Warriors],” McGee told Green. “But the caveat about this is it’s not guaranteed. We got a spot for you, [it’s] not guaranteed. It won’t be guaranteed until January, so you want it or not?
“In my mind, I’m like, ‘Do I want to go to a championship team? Yeah, for sure. I’m definitely going.’ So I [went] and that whole experience, it changed my mindset on how basketball is supposed to be played in a team aspect. It changed my mindset on how it’s a players league and players communicate with their coaches, with their GM and full transparency, and also, just like the college mindset, rather than, no, this is my peer, this is my coworker. It changed my mindset on that aspect, and it really just showed what championship basketball is about.”
McGee fully understands that Golden State helped him to save his career.
After initially bouncing from multiple teams around while making a notorious representation for himself of being one of the league’s laughingstocks due to his viral blunderous plays, the big man found life under the guidance and professional management of the franchise.
“By far, [joining the Warriors] changed my career,” McGee continued. “I always had that perspective. That chip on my shoulder of, ‘This is the guy from Shaqtin’ a Fool. This is the guy who made funny plays and this and that. He’s not that smart.’ And definitely going to Golden State changed [that perspective].”
Eventually, McGee served his own purpose for the Dubs as they conquered the league with such invincibility. Playing as a backup big and a trustworthy paint anchor for Steve Kerr, he helped Golden State to win two more titles in both 2017 and 2018.
In those two years, McGee hammered an impression that no other team has treated him perfectly.
“I had been to three or four teams, and the Warriors by far — still to this day — treat their players the best out of anybody.”
Since leaving Golden State in 2018 offseason, McGee got a much clearer and wider vision for himself and his basketball career. He went on to win one more title with the L.A. Lakers in 2020 and win a gold medal as part of the United States’ basketball team in Tokyo Olympics.
At age 35, McGee remains binded in hoops as he is playing for another stint with the Mavs. Looking back, the veteran can only be appreciative of what he learned in the Warriors culture.