Yes, that Gerald Green. That Gerald Green that was known as just a “dunker” for most of his career. That Gerald Green that was traded away from the Celtics in the Kevin Garnett deal almost 10 years ago now. That Gerald Green that at just 23 years old had to go play overseas because he couldn’t get an NBA contract. That Gerald Green that over a decade ago was thought of as a promising young Celtic prospect, has won the Celtics a playoff game.
Thankfully, 2 years later, Green got his chance to get back into the league with the Nets. In 2012, the Nets had just traded for Deron Williams and were trying to build around him, and in the meantime, Green was a way to sell tickets. He was there to dunk. And he did just that:
Flash forward to 2016, and Green was a free agent struggling to find a spot. He was coming off a solid year in Miami, but no one was biting, and Green was in danger of falling out of the league once again. Then, the Celtics called. After missing out on Kevin Durant, they still had a roster spot to fill, and Gerald Green was their guy.
"It’s weird, I’m going to be honest with you," Green said of being back with the Celtics 10 years later. "I was the youngest when I first came here; now I’m the oldest. It’s like I don’t know what to do. I still act like I’m the youngest."
It didn’t stay that way for long. Though Green may have felt awkward at first being the Celtics veteran leader, he’s turned out to be the perfect mentor for Isaiah Thomas and rookie Jaylen Brown. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if Gerald Green sees a little bit of himself in Jaylen Brown, and Green’s guidance has likely helped Brown throughout his rookie campaign.
When Brown was invited to the dunk contest, Green offered his advice. Green then said to the media “You get in the dunk contest and they kind of label you as ‘just this, or just that. I think for him it’s something that if he wants to do it, he should do it. If it’s kind of up in the air, I don’t think he should do it.” Brown ended up passing on the dunk contest.
As for Isaiah, he's turned to Green on the bench to be the voice in his ear. After Thomas’ 50 point game, Green said "It was just awesome... To see him -- this is the second team that I’ve been on with him and we’ve been friends for a few years now -- but just to see him grow from when we first met until now, it’s unbelievable.” When Thomas’ sister Chyna passed away last week, Green said he was dedicating his 2017 playoffs to her.
It wasn’t until games 3 and 4 of the series until Green’s time really came. Brad Stevens shocked the world when he listed Gerald Green as the game 3 starter. With the Celtics backs against the wall, down 2-0, and getting killed on the glass, Stevens was going small. People scoffed at the decision. Green had never started a playoff game in his career, and he hadn’t started for the Celtics all season. Low and behold, Green came through. In game 4, Green went off for 16 first half points and was a key factor to the Celtics victory.