Danny Green continues to set himself apart. Not many can say they’ve won both an NCAA title and at least three NBA titles—in fact, just 10 other people can. After winning a championship with San Antonio in 2014, Green just won back-to-back titles with both the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers.
At 33, Green has earned his way into being recognized as one of the best role players in recent memory, joining the likes of Robert Horry, Derek Fisher, and Shane Battier as understated performers who have consistently found ways to impact winning at the highest level wherever they’ve been.
“I’m feeling very truly blessed, very lucky to be a part of so many great teams and organizations,” Green told Complex. “But actually got a chance to relax, lay my hair down a little bit. Looking forward to maybe taking a vacation one of these days soon, but you know how it is: you win, short off-seasons, a lot of obligations, but trying to enjoy the ride as much as possible. During a pandemic it makes a little bit easy; you don’t have to make as many appearances. Everything is virtual, so yeah, I’m enjoying my time off right now and just trying to relax.”
"My dad almost got into the same situation with security [as Masai Ujiri] because they’re looking at him and viewing him as somebody violent, somebody angry and that doesn’t belong."
Such is life during the COVID-19 global pandemic that Green will receive his Lakers championship ring before his Raptors one. Though the two teams played each other twice this past season, the first meeting was in Los Angeles while the second was in the Orlando Bubble. Presented the choice of having the ring sent to him, Green—who has developed a strong attachment to Toronto and Canada—opted to receive his Raptors ring whenever he’s back in Toronto for a game in front of Raptors fans again.
“I was talking about it with Phil (Handy); me and Phil have been waiting for a little while now but we’re in no rush—we wanna do it the right way, in front of the city, in front of the fans. Hopefully we have fans next year,” Green said. “But yeah, I’m just truly excited and blessed to be a part of both experiences. Obviously the rings aren’t going anywhere, I know that, but I’m excited to see what they design up for this one.
“I’ve seen the design for the Raptors rings, I’ve seen how crazy it was. I haven’t had a chance to wear it yet or see it in person—of my own, but I’m excited to see what the Lakers bring to the table.”
While Green is looking forward to taking a vacation in the near future, he’s been cognizant of ensuring the work put in fighting against racial injustice while he and other NBA players were in the Bubble doesn’t simmer down during the off-season. That’s why he’s teamed up with both Dove Men+Care and the NBPA alongside Chris Paul, Donovan Mitchell, and Aaron Gordon to create the Commit to C.A.R.E. (Care About Racial Equity) Now initiative with three primary objectives of shining a light on harmful stereotypes perpetuated by media and culture, advocating for policies that advance public safety as well as safe and fair voting, and finally, investing $250,000 in player-led initiatives to impact Black youth.
“It’s just an honour and a pleasure to be chosen as one of the players, but to try to change those stereotypes, try to change those viewpoints on how Black men and women are viewed and all races, all people of other colours are viewed. It’s a big deal and it starts with just that: using our voice to hopefully change the stereotypes and then hopefully things in the future will be looked at and we’ll be more respected, won’t be looked at as violent. And at that point we hopefully won’t have to approach things so much more carefully than regular people do. Every encounter we have, a situation with a point [of authority] or officer or a figure of some stature, we have to be very different in how we approach things because of how we’re viewed.”
“I love the city of Toronto. I love Canada as a country, man. The people are amazing, they always treated me well."
The Raptors saw an ugly incident play out due to racial bias and harmful stereotypes when team president Masai Ujiri had his championship celebration moment tainted by being prevented from joining his team on the court because Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland wouldn’t allow it and even resorted to shoving him away twice. A legal battle ensued and it took video evidence for Ujiri to have his name cleared, even if Strickland continues to find a new low by dragging the matter on. Green was a part of that championship celebration and remembers his own father having issues with security that night.
“My dad was going through the same type of deal,” Green recalled. “Security was being very strict and my dad was arguing with security as well, trying to get through and I was trying to calm my dad down: ‘Yo relax, it’s OK, we’re gonna get you through’ and he’s like, ‘That’s my son, that’s my son, let me through.’ … My dad almost got into the same situation with security because they’re looking at him and viewing him as somebody violent, somebody angry and that doesn’t belong.
“You see all these videos of people walking in on people in their houses or on their lawn asking, ‘Do you own this house? Do you live here?’ Because of the colour of your skin, they feel like you don’t belong or they also think that you’re violent and I won’t even get started.... Women are just so strong, especially Black women—they’ve gone through so much, man. We owe them a lot more than what we give them. But it’s just the viewpoint and the stereotypes that we’re put in. We’re trying to change that.”
"Every encounter we have, a situation with a point [of authority] or officer or a figure of some stature, we have to be very different in how we approach things because of how we’re viewed."
Green’s time in Toronto means he’s not just looking to be a voice for change in the United States. When the Canadian border opens up once again, Green looks forward to returning to a place he considers home and has built many friendships in, and helping any way he can. His ties to the city and country extend beyond his one season with the Raptors, having held basketball camps for the youth in Canada on several occasions during the summer, including the last one in Winnipeg in 2019. Due to COVID-19 and the delayed NBA season, there was obviously no camp in 2020.
“I love the city of Toronto. I love Canada as a country, man. The people are amazing, they always treated me well,” Green said. “I also know how diverse the city of Toronto is and obviously other cities in Canada. How many people you have from the islands: Jamaican, Haitians, Trinidadians. Black, white, so many different people there, which made it so unique and so amazing as a city, so I know some of the things that they have gone through and some of the issues they’ve gone through, so I can only hope.
“It’s hard to use my voice right now since the border’s really strict; they’re not letting people in and out of there, but as soon as things get freed up and I’ll be able to go back, I’mma try to be there. And whenever Kyle Lowry or Fred VanVleet or anybody, those guys need me, Pascal.... [Whenever they] have something going on there and they need me to show up—OG, my guy OG, or Norm—I’ll be there. I’ll be on the forefront right on the frontlines of doing everything that needs to be done to make change.”