Growing Up … Jeff Green

Cavs Veteran Forward Looks Back on His Pre-Flight Days in Maryland

Veteran forward Jeff Green is a man of few words who prefers to let his game do the talking. And through the first eight games of his Cavaliers career, his game has made a statement – notching double-figures in four of those contests, including a 15-point effort in Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers.

The 10th year pro – drafted with the fifth overall pick by the Boston Celtics in 2007 has had a consistent career with five different teams before signing a free agent deal with the Wine & Gold this past offseason.

A native of Cheverly, Maryland, Green eventually played his college ball at nearby Georgetown and it’s likely that the former Hoya have plenty of family and friends pulling for him when the Cavaliers take on the Wizards this Friday night at Capital One Arena.

Before the squad departed for their big marquee matchup, the high-flying forward sat down with to talk about his early days in Maryland in today’s installment of Growing Up … Jeff Green.

On the early season, Green has tallied double-digit scoring in seven games.
Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Do I come from … an athletic family? If you ask my family, yes. If you ask me, no.

But I would say … that we’re a family of sports. My family loves sports. Football, basketball, everything.

My dad is a … sports fanatic – whether it be tennis, little league baseball. He loves sports in general. He still goes to high school games around the area, just to go for fun, to this day.

So, we are a … sports family. But some are athletic, some are not.

I have one older … sister. She’s athletic. She used to be. Anything that I do, she loves. She doesn’t watch it on her own, but she likes sports.

Growing up, I played … ALL sports. Not everything with an official but more so neighborhood baseball, football, basketball, tennis, soccer. I played anything. I love sports. I get that from my dad.

I believe, in my mind … that I can go to any sport and play, no matter what sport it is.

Early on, I wanted to play … football. I don’t remember what age, but I played football for a short stint. It was cold, I got hit. I didn’t like it. And I stopped. But even though that happened, I still love the sport.

I originally wanted to play football because … I wanted to lift weights. I never had to lift weights.

But then … I had a growth spurt. I went from, like, 6-2, 6-3 to 6-6, 6-7.

After the growth spurt … my dad was like: ‘You’re just gonna stick to basketball.’ And it worked out pretty well.

I had a lot … of great coaches and mentors growing up. I can’t name just one.

Coach Dickens, who was my … high school coach, a military coach. He instilled the work ethic, the start of the work ethic into me. He was a military man, so we were up early running miles. Early practice. Practice before and after school.

When I got to … college, Coach Thompson was a mentor, a father figure of mine – and someone who I still talk with to this day.

I wasn’t the big dog … or anything on the court growing up. I was a late bloomer.

You’re a product of … your environment. You grow up in the neighborhood where school wasn’t always the first thing on your mind. But I got my act together and things changed for me. It was a process but … I’m here. And I can’t complain.

When did I think … I could play basketball professionally? The honest answer is my sophomore year of college.

“I’m a late bloomer in everything. That’s just me.”

Cavaliers Forward Jeff Green

I’m a guy who lives … in the present and I really don’t think too much about the future unless it’s something that’s close. The reason I left Georgetown is because Coach Thompson pushed me to leave.

But I really wasn’t thinking … NBA until after my sophomore year; that’s when I really thought that I could possibly make a career out of it. But that’s just how I live. I’m not one to look past the task at hand.

At that point in school … you’re getting better as a player, but you’re also enjoying college life — and that’s what I did. I had great roommates, great teammates at Georgetown. And some of those people I still talk to every day. So, I enjoyed that process and college life and didn’t think about the NBA until after that second year when everybody started to talk about it.

That’s living … in the present, man. You’ve got to enjoy the moment. I was fortunate to be drafted where I was, but I was also able to enjoy it instead of overthinking that whole process.

Yeah, I remember my … first dunk. It was 10th grade in North Brentwood, Maryland, at my rec center. You walk into the gym, you make a left, it was the hoop at the far end of the court.

That was my … first two-foot dunk – (with one hand, right hand) — that I ever had.

I was just messing around … at the rec center I used to go to after school. I just tried it and I did it.

Believe it or not, people look at the way I jump now … and they think that I’m one of those guys who’s been jumping like that since I was in 9th grade. But I didn’t really start “dunking” until I got to college.

I’m talking about that feeling … like I was really jumping high. But I didn’t start dunking like I do now until junior year of college, which is weird.

I guess I’ve just developed … over time. I don’t know how that’s possible but it’s been going higher and higher. I’m a late bloomer in everything. That’s just me.

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