Danny Green, fresh off an NBA Championship with the San Antonio Spurs, is giving back to his community on Long Island. At the annual Team Green Basketball Skills Camp 2014, more than 60 local youths had a week filled with basketball, instruction, and fun at Floral Park Memorial High School.
Even though the NBA Finals ended more than a month ago, Green is still basking in the glory that comes with a championship. “It still hasn’t hit me yet,” he said of winning the title. “When you get noticed in New York, it says a lot,” he added. “People want me to come places because of what we accomplished this year.”
Winning a championship in any league is gratifying, but for Green and the Spurs, this year was a little more so. After a tough loss to the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals, the Spurs got another shot at the Heat this year, and beat the defending champions in five games. “We worked all season for that day,” Green said. “We got the same team we played last year, which was much sweeter for us.”
For the campers at Green’s annual basketball camp, just seeing a champion live and in-person was just as exciting. Many of the campers asked for autographs and photos with Green, who was happy to oblige. “A lot of them are here just excited to see me, meet me, and talk to me,” Green said of the campers. “Now, I just hope that they get the fundamentals of the game and learn something from this camp.” Being a Long Islander himself, Green knows exactly what the campers should be learning.
Green, a graduate of St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset, has been in the shoes his campers are in now. However, times have changed since he was young. “A lot of the kids are into technology so much they forget to go outside and play with their friends,” he said. Now, he’s hopeful he can teach the kids more than just basketball skills. “Whatever it is you do, you have to put your best foot forward.”
The camp in Floral Park concluded with the annual camper counselor game. All of the campers got to test the skills that they learned over the past week against the people who taught them those skills. “The highlight for everybody is the last day,” Green said of the camper counselor game. However, it was the counselors who were, not surprisingly, making the highlights.
With a height advantage of about two feet per person, Green effortlessly led the counselors to victory over the campers with alley-oop dunks, long three pointers, and shutdown defense. Occasionally, a camper would make a basket to the delight of the crowd of parents that assembled in the gym.
For Green, the message is simple. “Anything is possible. It doesn’t matter where you are from. Anybody is capable of making it,” he said.
There are two more Team Green Basketball Skills Camps coming up in North Babylon in the next few weeks. For more information, visit teamgreenba.com