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Original Issue

The NBA Player Who Has Never Scored

Good evening! We're here at the new Staples Center, home of the
Los Angeles Lakers, to play the wildly popular game show Who
Wants to Be a Virgin?

Look around. Is it a) sex kitten Pamela Anderson Lee, who's
bouncing to her courtside seat in a shrink-wrapped T-shirt just
a little too small for a sixth-grader?; b) the Laker Girls, who
are doing things at center court to make men bite through their
wedding rings?; c) any of the hundreds of starlets, harlots and
Charlottes in attendance who are up to their chins in cleavage
and come-on?

Sorry, the answer is a and c, as in A.C. Green, the Lakers'
starting power forward, who says that, despite 15 seasons in the
NBA, he's still as pure as a baby's sneeze. Somehow Green has
outrun the groupies and the marry-mes. He has lugged his morals
in and out of every Hyatt from Sodom to Gomorrah. He has fended
off more women than Rock Hudson and is, without doubt, the
underheated champion.

Can you imagine? Not only is Green perhaps the only adult virgin
in the Los Angeles Basin, but he's kept his virginity while
working in the NBA--the world's oldest permanent floating orgy!
I mean, if you were trying to lose weight, would you spend 15
years working at Haagen-Dazs? If you were Amish, would you move
to the Silicon Valley? If you were an alcoholic, would you marry
a Seagram's heir?

In his life Green has had just two girlfriends, one in high
school and one five years ago. Now, if Green looked like Jughead
or picked his teeth with his toenails or smelled like the state
fair, you could maybe believe that. But Green is achingly
handsome, drippingly rich and gallantly polite. Yet, at 36, he
swears he has never, not once, gotten busy. "I promised God
this, and I'm not going to break it," he says. "I love myself
and my future wife too much to just waste it. I look at it as a
gift for one heckuva woman."

Last week Green broke the professional basketball record for
games played without a miss--1,041 by Ron Boone of the ABA and
NBA. You think that took guts and willpower? Try playing 1,259
games in all without once letting some luscious show you her
etchings. He's an NBA star in an era when NBA stars have knocked
up more women than Zeus. He's a single American hunk when single
American hunks order condoms by the forklift. He's stayed true
to his ideals in an era when ideals are slightly less cool than
a 1981 Chrysler K-Car.

"It's not hard," he says. "It's a commitment. I just tell them
up front, right away, 'Look, I really want to get to know you
better, but I'm not interested in going to bed with you.'" To
gum-snapping NBA groupies everywhere, this makes him Fort Knox,
Annapurna and Fermat's Last Theorem rolled into one. They all
want to go where no woman has gone before. "A lot of them want
to be the first," Green says, "so I get those long looks, those
bats of the eyelashes, the flips of the hair. I get a lot of
late-night calls from women. I'm like, You have to call me at
midnight? Can't you call me at eight? Hey, I'm not saying I
don't get tempted. I'm human. I get weak. But I have my tricks."

He says one is to call his closest Christian friends and have
them talk him down, as it were.

Friend: O.K., let's go over it again.

A.C.: In the predawn hours of June 23, 1993, Lorena Bobbitt took
a kitchen knife and....

It doesn't help to go into the locker room and hear his
teammates' blow-by-blow of last night's parties, either.
"They'll be going into it," he says with a wince, "all their
imports and exports, and they'll see me or I'll see them and
they'll kind of stop the details. I think, maybe, they feel a
little shame when they hear themselves. Any guy can make a baby.
It takes a man to take care of one."

What's funny is that in high school in Portland, Green made
himself out to be some sort of Wilt Starter Kit. "I was the
biggest liar there was," he admits. "I told everybody whom I did
it with, when, how many times. All lies. I mean, don't get me
wrong, I wanted to, I just never did. I think, looking back on
it, God was protecting me."

It's kind of nice, isn't it? It's like finding someone who still
cries at his school song or knits pot holders or writes his
grandma letters in longhand. In a city that holds sexual purity
in the same esteem as groin pulls, A.C. Green is that rarest of
adults--a satisfied virgin.

Somewhere, Madonna weeps.


In L.A., a city that holds sexual purity in the same esteem as
groin pulls, A.C. Green is that rarest of adults--a satisfied