Do you know Jeff Green? Just after the NBA lockout was lifted in 2011, Boston Celtic Jeff Green was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm; a swelling of the body’s main artery and a potentially life threatening condition.
The news shocked his teammates, coaches and close friends, including Kevin Durant, who dedicated his season to Green.
It wasn’t long before Green would find himself lying in a hospital bed struggling to breathe.
Green had played four successful years for Georgetown University as a top-tier player, hitting multiple buzzer-beaters in March Madness competitions.
He was hailed by Georgetown head coach John Thompson III as “the smartest player I’ve ever coached.”
After declaring himself for the NBA draft, he went to the Celtics as the fifth pick in the first round.
He was later involved in the trade that brought Ray Allen to join Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in what was to become the original “Big 3” and in turn, lead Boston to their 17th NBA Championship in 2008.
Eventually, the “Big 3” was traded away as the Boston faithful feared an aging team.
As Danny Ainge, the Celtics general manager, slowly began shipping off key components to other teams for promised future draft picks, Jeff Green made his way back to Boston quietly.
As a result of his condition, Green’s career was in jeopardy and everything he had worked for since he was kid, not to mention his life, was on the line.
But after a successful surgery and 100 percent commitment to getting back in shape, Green soon proved himself worthy of professional ball once again.
In 2012, he re-signed to a four-year, $36 million dollar contract with the Celtics and soon was back to practicing with the players and starting alongside the Celtics crown jewel that is Rajon Rondo.
At 6’9” and nothing short of a beast, Green proved himself to be a physical player who works well off the ball.
His comeback was huge.
Big, off the dribble dunks and flashy finishes soon became a familiar sight for Boston fans.
One-on-one, he resembles Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady due to big, posterizing dunks on some of the league’s best like Al Jefferson, Shane Battier, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony.
He’s also posted multiple, 30-plus point performances and on Nov. 9, 2013, Green showed the entire sports-watching world greatness.
Green hit a corner, fade-away three-point shot with seconds left in the fourth quarter to lift the Celtics over the Miami Heat, with the best player in the league, Lebron James, in his face.
These were the kind of plays found in hall-of-fame flashback reels, Michael Jordan Youtube videos or a teenage boy’s living room who hit the shot just right on his Xbox controller.
You couldn’t make up a better comeback story than Green’s.
He’s been through hardship, almost no trash talk and even after his show time plays, there’s little for the camera afterward.
What’s great about Green is that he just plays basketball, and leaves little else when it comes to the off-court dramas or a little something extra for the fans at home.
He donates to various charities and SportsCenter did a small piece on his recovery, but other than that, there is little information on the guy.
He’s kind of a ghost. So I’ll leave you with this: Do you know Jeff Green? After self-proclaiming himself as “Ironman,” I might just believe him.