By Rob Lep
LeBron James and Anthony Davis. That’s all it took for two-time NBA champion Danny Green to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason, fresh off his second championship in the Raptors NBA Finals victory over the Warriors back in June.
“It was pretty obvious. It wasn't a difficult decision," Green told STAT Sports while appearing at his annual youth basketball camp at North Babylon High School on Long Island. “They have two superstars and they can build around them easy. I feel like I was a piece that could help add to a contender and help to turn the franchise around from the last couple of years or so.”
Green attended North Babylon his freshman year of high school before transferring to St. Marys, a private school in Manhasset, NY. He averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks as a senior.
Back in 2005, he was listed by Rivals.com as the No. 8 shooting guard and the No. 31 player in the nation. The camp is in its 10th year and is run by Green’s dad, Daniel. They call him “Senior”.
NBA fans have a lot to be excited about for the upcoming 2019-20 season. Following Kevin Durant’s departure from the Warriors, many teams have a legitimate shot to win the title, making the league more wide open than it’s been in several years.
BetOnline gives the Lakers the second best odds (+500), just behind the Los Angeles Clippers (+350), who shocked the NBA world by signing NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and trading for Oklahoma City Thunder star forward Paul George.
“I think we have a good roster on paper but it doesn’t matter until you put it to work and put it on the court. Everybody looks great in the preseason. We’ll see how healthy we stay and how good our chemistry is. We have some good veterans and leaders.”
The Lakers have missed the postseason the last six years and have not been past the conference semifinals since winning back-to-back NBA titles in 2009-10. Of course, those were Kobe Bryant’s teams, paired up with a big man as well: Pau Gasol.
In LeBron James’ first season in Hollywood, the team surprised many finishing 37-45, good for 10th in the Western Conference. The Lakers were the four seed in the West before James’ Christmas Day groin injury that forced him to miss 17 games. It was the first time the 3x NBA Finals MVP was not in the playoffs since 2005.
Green averaged 10.3 PPG this season with the Raptors to go along with four rebounds and a career high 46% shooting from three-point range. He had 18 points on six three pointers in Toronto’s 123-109 Game 3 victory to take a 2-1 series lead.
“I’ve been lucky to have more than one [title]. I’m going to enjoy this one because of how hard it was. Just the ride and how tough it was to get back there. And also win another one. Just have to realize how blessed and special it has been for me. I’m very lucky.”
For both this title in Toronto as well as with the San Antonio Spurs in 2013, Green was teammates with Leonard, a now two-time NBA champion/ Finals MVP.
When asked what fans should know about Leonard, Green put it simply: “He’s a regular person, just like anyone else.”
The Long Island native is enjoying the offseason with his family and friends, going back to where he grew up and helping the next generation of young basketball players.
His unconventional path is part of what makes his story so inspiring. Green was under recruited going into college before ultimately ending up at North Carolina.
He didn’t start until his senior season and was drafted in the second round (46th overall) by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Green hasn’t forgotten the challenges he overcame and where it all started.
“This is the community I grew up in. It’s always important to come back to where you came from and help be a resource for those kids who were just like you, trying to be just like you. Just to show them that they can be and help the unfortunate.”
My name is Rob Lep. I am the founder of my own sports website/ interview show STAT Sports (STATSports1.com), Digital Sports Host (Youtube Partner), CNN Sports Desk/ ESPNU Campus Contributor, etc.
My work has been featured in USA Today, Yahoo Sports, MSN, SNY, NY Post, NJ.com, etc.
I've interviewed everyone from Mariano Rivera, Mark Messier, Phil Simms, Bernie Williams, Walt Frazier, Kemba Walker, Keith Hernandez, Dick Vitale, Gary Cohen, Verne Lundquist, etc.
For various outlets, I've been credentialed to cover the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, Tennis, Boxing, UFC, Mayweather-McGregor, NBA Draft, and the Belmont Stakes among many others.
Phil Simms once called me a "great looking fella" with "great TV hair".
Follow me on Twitter @RobLep1.