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Willie Green
Willie Green
Position: -
Born: 07/28/81
Height: 6-3 / 1.91
Weight:201 lbs. / 91.2 kg.
Earnings: $23,373,140 ($27,891,773*)
Most of Green’s teammates came from different backgrounds, but he was the one who kept them all united and focused on the bigger goal. That 2003 Titans squad wasn’t one of the most talented groups Watson has ever coached, but he said they were as tight-knit as any team he’s been around. He gives much of the credit to Green for making sure they reached that point. “He became a much more vocal presence around the guys and he made sure they followed his lead,” Watson said. “He was comfortable in those shoes. He knew how to relate to guys and influence them in the right ways. He realized the price he was paying, and he made sure everybody paid that price.”
Those personality traits allowed Green to quickly move up the coaching ranks during his time with Golden State and Phoenix. People with both franchises rave about what Green brings to the table as a basketball mind and a coach who can get his players to run through a brick wall. “New Orleans is going to have a really good guy on their hands that is taking control in leading that group,” Suns All-Star Devin Booker said when asked about Green during this year’s NBA Finals.
Less than a decade and a half later, the 39-year-old Green has become an NBA head coach, with New Orleans making the hire official Thursday. A key reserve for the 2010-11 playoff-qualifying Hornets, Green is the first ex-New Orleans player to also serve as head coach with the franchise. Former ’10-11 teammates of Green say the news of his hire came as no surprise to them. “He was always dependable, one of those guys who are just rock-solid on your team,” Jason Smith said of Green. “He was the same way every day, so consistent. As a teammate, you could go to him and he knew pretty much everything and anything about the game, on and off the court.”