Gerald Green's whirlwind career puts him in 'dream' scenario with Houston Rockets

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Gerald Green has said often during his current stint with the Rockets - a team that he grew up loving and rooting for - a dream come true.

After all, it took a whirlwind 12 seasons for Green to get from alma mater Gulf Shores Academy to the Rockets.

Back in 2005, Green was touted as a five-star recruit heading into the collegiate level, but decided to follow in the footsteps of iconic players who jumped directly to the pros after high school.

Green was taken 18th overall in that year's NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, a team that he would revisit again later in his career.

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Despite becoming a limited role player for the Celtics, Green was mostly known at that time for his prowess at the rim. He won the 2007 NBA Slam Dunk title, besting two other dunk champions in Nate Robinson and Dwight Howard. Green's slam dunk title defense in 2008 was well known for his "Birthday Cake" dunk, which included him going to the rim and blowing out a candle from a cupcake placed at the base of the rim.

All of his dunk accolades were achieved despite Green losing most of his right ring finger in his youth. A dunking accident in which his finger got caught on a nail on a makeshift hoop caused him to lose the digit.

Also in 2007, Green was shipped to Minnesota as part of a package that sent Kevin Garnett to Boston. In the following season after the trade, Boston won its first NBA championship in 22 years.

After the trade, Green's career took on the subjective "journeyman" label. Minnesota sent him to the Rockets, but Green never got to play for his hometown team in 2008. He was released soon after the acquisition. Green would sign with the Dallas Mavericks after that before spending two years playing in Russia and China.

By the middle of the 2011-2012 season, Green found his way back to the NBA and in the Los Angeles Lakers D-League system. Since then, he had short-term stints with the Nets, Pacers, Suns, Heat, the Celtics again, and the Bucks, for which he appeared in just four preseason games before the current season.

Despite never finding a place to call home for more than two seasons, Green's way back to the Rockets was one mixed with serendipity and misfortune. By the end of December 2017, the Rockets were in need of a backcourt scoring threat. The team signed Green to a non-guaranteed contract. While it was a low-level salary, Green played his first week like he was commanding tens of millions.

He came alive for 27 points in a win over Orlando. He then proved valuable when he hit eight three-pointers vs. Golden State.

In the 41 games that he has played for Houston, he is averaging about 12 points and 22 minutes a game.

Now that he is holding court in his return home, Green has often showed his pride for Houston, most notably in his hairstyle.

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He has also never forgotten to give back, supporting those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

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No matter how many points he scores in the rest of the Rockets' run in the playoffs, Green is already being credited with being the heart of the team. He's already drawn praise from his superstar teammates, Harden and Chris Paul, and his head coach Mike D'Antoni.

Look for "G.G." to come up big for Houston when they need him.
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