From Beach Ball Classic Champion to potential NBA MVP, Green brings the 3

As Danny Green stepped to the free throw line of the 2004 Beach Ball Classic semi-final game number 1, the pressure was on. His St. Mary Gaels out of Manhasset, NY were tied with a Saint Patrick team out of New Jersey with 1 second left in the game.

Future Head Coach Roy Williams was sitting foul line extended along the sideline, with a big ol’ smile on his face. His recent signee to the University of North Carolina was in a prime position to show just what he was made of.

The first shot dropped. “Nothing but net”, the TV announcer said. And then, with the Gaels up by one, the Saint Patrick coach called a timeout. It was an opportunity to ice Green and go over options if the final free throw was made or missed.

Green stepped to the line, took his time and placed the ball perfectly within the rim of the basket to put his team up by 2. Time would run out before the Saint Patrick team featuring Daquan Cook could get off a shot and the Gaels would head to the Championship game with a 48-46 win. Green would finish the game with 23 points going 3-5 from three-point land.

During the Championship game against Ridgeway out of Tennessee, Danny Green would go on to lead all scorers with 24 points, going 11-17 and be named the Beach Ball Classic Tournament MVP.

That wouldn’t be the last time Green would accept a championship trophy. Once at the University of North Carolina, Green would go on to play in more games (145) and have more wins (123) than any Tar Heel before him. He is also the only player in the history of the ACC with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists, 150 three-pointers, 150 blocks and 150 steals. In 2009, as a senior at UNC, Green would start and play an important role in the NCAA men’s basketball Division I national championship win, picking up another championship trophy.

Drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Green was soon waived and spent time bouncing back and forth between the NBA D-league and overseas organizations. By 2012, Green found himself with the San Antonio Spurs holding a 3 year, $12 million dollar deal. He would play well for the Spurs, getting better, and increasing his on court time.

During the 2013 season, Green would see action if every game, averaging 10.5 points per game and shooting 43% from the field. But, he would really come to shine during the NBA Finals.

Game 2 of the finals, he would go a perfect 5-5 from behind the three-point line. In Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Green went 7- 9 from three-point range, including the one to set a Finals record for most three-pointers in a game by a team. Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Green hit 6 three pointers, breaking the record previously set by Ray Allen for most threes scored in the NBA Finals with 25 over Allen’s 22. This “overnight sensation” found himself embraced by the media and fans.  

If all goes well tonight, Green will be adding another title to the list, that of NBA Champion and the front-runner for the Finals MVP.  The Spurs lead the Heat 3-2 and a win in Miami would seal the deal. If Green ends up going to the line for that make or break free throw to win it all, you can calmly look at your friends and say, “He’ll make it. He’s done it before”.  

Photo Courtesy of the NBA

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