NBA champion Danny Green on the Raptors' title, his parade style, free agency and Kawhi
Toronto shooting guard hosting Hoop Talks event Saturday, stream live online
Danny Green came to Toronto as the self-proclaimed "other guy" in the Kawhi Leonard trade. He quickly turned into a crucial member of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors.
Green sat down with CBC Sports ahead of Hoop Talks, where he'll be joined by Fred VanVleet and other special guests (insert eyes emoji) at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto. Watch the event live on Saturday night at 6:45 p.m. ET on CBCSports.ca and CBC Gem.
Oh yeah, and it's Green's birthday on Saturday too. There will be cake.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
CBC Sports: Let's start with the parade. What was your favourite moment?
Danny Green: Man, it was five and a half hours long. There's so many moments, it's hard to pick one. It seems like it lasted forever. Every time we'd look to the side of the bus and stand up and raise our arms the fans were going nuts, going crazy. People on top of buildings, in buildings, in their apartments, on trees, on the street signs. It was crazy, man, it was amazing. My family enjoyed it, my friends enjoyed it, everybody had a great time.
CBC Sports: Did you know what was happening when Matt Devlin briefly stopped the rally (in the wake of a shooting that wounded four people?)
Green: We had no idea. I had no idea. Kyle Lowry is the one that informed us what was going on. I guess when you have three million people, something's bound to happen. So what happened was terrible.
CBC Sports: Onto a lighter subject, when did you decide to go with that hairstyle for the parade and how long did it take you to puff it out like that?
Green: I decided that morning. My dad was in town, my step-ma was in town, and that night, because my season is over, I wanted to clean my hair out. Get some of the dead ends out, straighten it out and give it a break because I always let it down. We were gonna do it the night before but just ended up doing it that morning. Didn't take long, just took a shower, washed it, straightened it, blow-dried it out and it only takes like 30-45 minutes.
CBC Sports: So take me back to Game 6. You get the ball, eight seconds left. Then, the turnover. What's going through your mind?
Green: I wasn't too happy man. I was very sick, sick to my stomach about what had just happened and I thought 'these guys have a chance to win and I just pretty much lost the game for my team.' Because if you give [the Warriors] the ball with that much time they're gonna get a decent look. And they did, but luckily we got them to miss. Fred [VanVleet] and Serge [Ibaka] challenged the shot pretty well and then [the Warriors] got a rebound, but we chased them down, made them call a timeout and made our free throws, so it was big time. Big time.
CBC Sports: You said you were the happiest person on the court when the final buzzer went.
Green: I mean they saved me, man. They definitely saved me.
CBC Sports: How did this championship compare to your first in San Antonio?
Green: Definitely a harder road, tougher route to get through, It was really tough man. It's special because it's for a country that's never done it before, a team that's never done it before, never been on that stage and a group of guys that's never been there before. Coaching staff as well, it was the first year for a lot of those guys, being head coaches, being on staff. So it was special.
CBC Sports: What were your initial thoughts when you got traded to Toronto — about the city, about the team?
Green: I was excited so much for my friends and family, because I was closer to New York, they were home and they know how much I love Toronto, how much they love Toronto. I didn't know the fans were that crazy until I became a Raptor but I just knew the city was great, everybody loved to visit. And I knew they had a great team and I knew we had a chance to do something special, especially with me and Kawhi. Kawhi is obviously a great player and it was a good team. With LeBron getting out of the East, it was wide open so we knew this team could make it.
CBC Sports: Where were you for Kawhi's shot in Game 7 against Philadelphia? What were you thinking as the play developed?
Green: I was in the corner, on the bench, waiting for it to drop in. I thought it was going to overtime at first. It didn't look like it was on target. It bounced, and it gives you a little bit of lightning. It bounced again and you're like, OK, we may have a shot here. And everybody went crazy.
WATCH | Kawhi Leonard's ridiculous buzzer beater:
CBC Sports: Has it sunk in yet that you're a two-time champion?
Green: Nah it hasn't really sunk in yet, no. Probably when I get the ring. But I'm just trying to enjoy it as much as I can right, enjoy the summer, enjoy my family, relax a little bit but we got camps coming up so no real rest time in between.
CBC Sports: It's crazy how quickly the NBA turns to the off-season. Have you thought about free agency at all?
Green: A little bit. Not much. Right now I'm enjoying it. So we start to worry about that when July hits, people start talking, but right now just trying to enjoy the moment.
CBC Sports: What do you prioritize heading into free agency?
Green: I just want to continue to be in a place where I can stay on this high, winning games and being successful so if I can find a place or be in a place — which hopefully is here — and continue to be successful and win and be competitive each year, that's exactly what I wanna do. That's been part of my M.O. and I want that to continue to be part of my brand, winning and try to be one of those guys that help teams win championships. One of the glue guys.
CBC Sports: I gotta ask. Any inkling on Kawhi's decision?
Green: Nope. No idea man, that's the honest truth. Even if I did I wouldn't tell you, but I really don't know. Nobody really knows. He keeps everything close to his chest and as much as you think you may know him, you can never really have a great read on him. One day he may be feeling this, one day something else. We don't know. Only he knows and maybe his family knows.
CBC Sports: Did you guys know he was gonna do the laugh at the end of his speech?
Green: Nah, I had no idea. That's why we reacted the way we did. I don't think we saw it coming, no one expected it, it came out of nowhere so it caught us by surprise. That's why it was so funny.
WATCH | Kawhi Leonard gets the last laugh:
CBC Sports: Who got the craziest during the parade?
Green: Probably Marc Gasol. If you see some of the highlights of him, I think you'll understand why.
CBC Sports: I heard Norm was pretty lit too.
Green: Norm was probably the most on our bus, but nah, he was nowhere near where Marc was.
CBC Sports: Is there anything else you'd want to order about the Hoop Talks event on Saturday night or anything?
Green: No I mean I figured I would mentioned some of the stuff about the camps, about the show. A lot of shows coming in. It should be fun, we're trying to sell out the rest of the tickets and hopefully the fans will enjoy it. It should be a great time. For the camps you can sign up online, goldlevelse.com. To get tickets for the show we have links in our bio and hopefully it'll sell out, hopefully it'll be a great time. I think it'll be an amazing time. It's on my birthday. So we appreciate all the sponsors, everyone who's helped us throughout the year and it's all for the fans.
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