Seeing (Willie) Green
Willie Green talks AI, 76ers and hobbies.
by Randy Zellea
There are always solid contributors available in the second round of the NBA Draft. On draft night in June 2003, the Philadelphia 76ers saw something in Detroit’s Willie Green and completed a deal with Seattle to acquire Green’s rights.
Since then, Green has been a mainstay in Philly due to his hard work and dedication, not only to his team, but to the community. Green currently runs his own foundation that helps to strengthen the interests of young people who come from communities challenged by violence, economic underdevelopment and chronic unemployment.
SLAM recently sat down with Green before the Sixers played the Nets at the I-Zod Center. Green spoke openly about the team’s tough start, playing for a new coach, the return of Allen Iverson, his off court hobbies, and his reaction to seeing himself in a video game.
SLAM: Tough start for the team so far, what does the team have to do in the second half to make a run?
Willie Green: I think we just have to continue to stay committed to try and get better as a basketball team. Whether it’s practice or a game, we just have to stay together and build some momentum on the wins that we have.
SLAM: With a new coach comes a new system. Has the team found it difficult to adjust to Coach Jordan’s motion offense?
WG: Yeah, a little bit. When you get accustomed to playing in a certain setting, you start to grow within that particular system. We had a chance to grow as a team over the last three years under Mo Cheeks and Tony DiLeo. This year there is a new system and a new coach and it’s taking some time but I don’t think that is the reason why have been losing. Some times it takes longer to adjust to a new voice and learn new habits.
SLAM: Has the return of Allen Iverson to the line up had an impact on the team?
WG: I don’t think its impacting the team at all. Having Allen around has been one of the good things about the season. He has given us a lift coming in and doing what he can every game. It’s just one of those seasons that we are struggling. I don’t think there is any particular reason why it is happening. We can all play virtual coach but its hard to pin point one thing that is causing us to struggle.
SLAM: Do you see any difference in him from his first stint with the Sixers organization?
WG: No, same Allen who is singing in the locker room, and playing practical jokes. He still plays his heart out and is fun to be around. I am thrilled he came back to us.
SLAM: What do you have to work on to improve your game?
WG: I have a system that I do. I come to practices and games early and I keep working with the coaching staff. I watch as much film as possible to improve myself and to prepare as much as I can. There many things players can do to improve themselves and their games. That is why the game is so competitive and we all love to play it.
SLAM: What do you like to do with your spare time?
WG: Yeah, I love to golf. It’s something I picked up during my third season and it’s a lot of fun for me. I love to spend as much time as I can with my family. Obviously, with our travel schedules being as hectic as they are, you don’t get to have as much family time as you would like. So family time and golf are my two off court passions.
SLAM: Any Super Bowl predictions?
WG: Nah, Not really. I just think it will be a great game out of both quarterbacks.
SLAM: How is it seeing yourself in video games?
WG: I don’t play video games that much but I have to admit that it is pretty cool. Every once in a while when I do play, I sort of laugh and almost have to pinch myself and say wow I’m in a video game. Its actually crazy to be in every NBA live game. It’s a blessing to have those little surreal moments.