After two stintsin the NBA's Development League, Celtics forward Gerald Green, 20, who came tothe NBA out of Houston's Gulf Shores Academy, averaged 25.7 minutes and 12.7points in Boston's final 10 games. He reflects on his first year as anNBAer.
IT'S TOO BAD THESEASON IS OVER. It's been an up-and-down year, but I was really starting tofeel comfortable on the floor and I think I was starting to show people thethings I can do. The fans have welcomed me but, you know, as an NBA player, youdon't make a lot of new friends: You have your teammates and your friends fromhome and not much else. It's not that I don't want to meet people, it's justthat our [traveling] lifestyle makes it difficult to make friends or evengirlfriends. I am not going to talk about girls here--that would get me in somuch trouble!
NOW MY PIT BULLSAND I ARE GOING BACK HOME TO HOUSTON. We're headed to a house I bought myparents. It's nice, six bedrooms. My parents [Gerald Sr., a retired fireman,and Brenda, a former teacher's aide] and my younger brother and sister, Garlonand Delonya, live there. I'll sleep there, but I plan to spend every freemoment at the gym. I'm set to work out with [former NBA] coach John Lucas andthen play in a few pro leagues. In July I'll join the Celtics' summer-leagueteam in Las Vegas.
WHAT HAVE ILEARNED THIS SEASON? Well, I can give you my list of favorites. My favoritereferee: Joey Crawford--he's fair with rookies. My favorite play: a motion playwhere I look for a lob [to dunk]. I've got a favorite person to dunk on, butI'm not going to say who. If you throw someone's name out there, the next timeyou try to dunk on them, you'll get knocked to the ground. (For more on theexperience of being dunked on, see page 38.)
I'VE ALSO COME TOUNDERSTAND THAT IT MATTERS HOW YOU CARRY YOURSELF. I like to goof around, actcrazy with my friends, but in the NBA people are constantly watching you.Players are role models. I hope any kids that look up to me see me as a goodperson. I hope they always do. I aim to be in this league a very long time.
RICHARD SCHULTZ (GREEN WRITING)
JOE MURPHY/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (GREEN PLAYING)