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ON THE ROAD WITH GERALD GREEN

April 09, 2012
April 09, 2012

Table of Contents
April 9, 2012

LEADING OFF
GOLF PLUS
THE MAIL
Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS
NCAA TOURNAMENT FINAL
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
PRO BASKETBALL
BASEBALL
DESTINATIONS
FICTION
  • In his latest novel, the best-selling author of The Firm—and dyed-in-the-double-knits baseball fan—spins the tale of Cubs first baseman Joe Castle, the most scintillating phenom to hit the big leagues since ... maybe ever. In this exclusive excerpt, the son of a veteran Mets pitcher describes what happens when a fresh-faced star in the making crosses paths with an embittered hurler who knows he's past his prime

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ON THE ROAD WITH GERALD GREEN

How do you know when you have hit bottom? How about—after fizzling with four teams in the NBA and spending two seasons in isolated outposts in Russia—being told by a 14th-place Chinese team that your services are no longer required? In December former first-round pick Gerald Green was released by the Foshan Long Lions after the club got off to a 1--3 start. "It was the low point in my life," says Green. "I could understand being cut from the NBA, but a Chinese team?"

This is an article from the April 9, 2012 issue

Years earlier that kind of failure might have broken him. The 18th pick in the 2005 draft, by Boston, Green entered the NBA big on talent but short on smarts. He made a name for himself by winning the '07 slam dunk contest but frustrated his coaches with erratic play. Says Celtics coach Doc Rivers, "He just hadn't been taught how to play basketball."

After failed stints in Boston, Minnesota, Houston and Dallas, Green, 26, was exiled to Siberia (almost). He signed with Russian club PBC Lokomotiv-Kuban in 2009 and BC Krasnye Krylia in '10, where he played road games in Arctic conditions. "That's a different kind of cold," he says. "And they don't see many black people out there. When I went to the mall, I'd be followed around like I was Michael Jackson."

The experience humbled Green and, more important, hardened him. After a stint in the NBADL, the Nets signed Green last month to a 10-day contract. He scored 10 points in his debut and two weeks later put up 26 points twice in five days. In 19 games with New Jersey, Green is averaging 11.5 points. And New Jersey coach Avery Johnson has praised Green's commitment to film study. On March 18 the Nets signed Green for the rest of the year and are hoping to bring him back next season. "I'm a lot smarter player," Green said. "I'm playing with my head and not just my athleticism and it's paying off."

2011--12

L.A.

2008-09

Dallas

2007--08

Minnesota

2005--07

Boston

2012--???

New Jersey

2008

Houston

2009--10

Krasnodar, Russia

2010--11

Samara, Russia

2011

Foshan, China

PHOTOERICK W. RASCO (GREEN)