He is a quiet, consistent role player who learned about a work ethic early in life. And Thursday night in Dallas, A.C. Green carried that lesson into the NBA record book by playing his 907th straight game.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Green said during a 23-minute halftime celebration.
Green became the NBA’s Iron Man at the start of the Dallas Mavericks’ game against Golden State. Teammate Michael Finley caught the opening tipoff, called timeout and handed the ball to Green. He bounced it once, hugged Finley and teammates Dennis Scott and Shawn Bradley, then held the ball high and waved it to acknowledge cheers.
At halftime, Green was showered with gifts such as a rocking chair, a proclamation from Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk declaring Nov. 13-20 “A.C. Green Week,” a $10,000 donation to his youth foundation and a leather jacket.
Baseball’s Cal Ripken Jr., who dramatically enjoyed his own streak-busting game in 1995, joined the festivities even though he had never met his kindred spirit in durability.
“I know that in the 10 or 11 years during which this streak has existed, there had to be many nights where the body said ‘No,’ but somewhere down deep inside, he had to go down there and dig it out and say I’m going to do it, I’m going to go out and play.’ That’s spirit; that’s heart,” Ripken said.
Green spoke for about 5 minutes, thanking friends, family and fans “for all the support I’ve received from the community and all over the country.”
Green’s trademark smile was sealed on his face through it all. He never lost his composure, not even while hugging and kissing his parents. It was A.C. and Leola Green who taught their youngest child the value going to work every day, as they seldom took off from their jobs at a car dealership and sportswear factory.
Green’s milestone was somewhat overshadowed when the Warriors got their first win of the season with a 101-97 overtime win.
Former L.A. Clipper Randy Smith held the previous mark of 906 games, set from 1972-83.
Thomas resigns as Raptors
GM Isiah Thomas resigned as general manager of the struggling Toronto Raptors after failing to buy out majority owner Allan Slaight and will sell his 9 percent stake in the team.
Thomas, who has been offered a multimillion-dollar broadcasting job with NBC, will be replaced by assistant general manager Glen Grunwald. The Raptors are 1-9, last in the Eastern Conference’s Central Division.
Knicks end Hawks’ streak
Atlanta’s season-opening 11-game winning streak ended Thursday night in Atlanta when the New York Knicks rolled over the injury-depleted Hawks 100-79 behind John Starks’ 20 points and another stifling defensive performance.
Atlanta’s loss left the Los Angeles Lakers (10-0) as the only unbeaten team in the NBA.
Danny Manning scored 23 points as the Phoenix Suns kept the Chicago Bulls winless on the road this season with an 89-85 victory.
Isaiah Rider had 28 points and Kenny Anderson scored nine of his 17 in the final 6 minutes to help the visiting Portland Trail Blazers beat the Detroit Pistons 93-87.
Bad heart sidelines Coleman
For the second time in three seasons, Philadelphia 76ers forward Derrick Coleman will be sidelined due to an irregular heartbeat.
Coleman will undergo testing today after doctors discovered a recurrence of the heart condition that sidelined him two years ago.
7-foot-9 Korean wants to play
A 7-foot-9 North Korean basketball player who has been living in Ottawa since May will seek a special Canadian immigrant status.
Ri Myong-Hun, 27, is trying to be declared a landed immigrant, which would allow him to play in the NBA, and is seeking Canadian citizenship.
He would be the tallest NBA player in history.