This time last year, Gerald Green was nothing more than a YouTube legend. Pushed out of the league at 24 and forced to reestablish himself halfway across the globe, his legacy could be found in the confines of a website devoted to entertaining you with a short thrill — much like what Green provides fans when he rises from the hardwood. He was able to cement himself as a premier dunker in a league full of high-flyers, but that wasn’t enough to find a consistent spot on an NBA roster, and his novelty quickly wore off.
After a detour that included stops in Russia, China and the D-League, Green is finally living up to some of the potential that came with his 18th overall selection in the 2005 Draft. Last year, the Nets gave him a second chance, an opportunity to prove that he’s worth more than the jump-out-of-your-seat dunks that made him a household name in the first place. Now that he’s earned valuable minutes on a contending Pacers squad, it seems he finally came into his own.
He’ll compete in his third NBA Slam Dunk Contest this Saturday, and as we saw when we highlighted competitor James White yesterday, Gerald will need to bring his insane ups to All-Star Weekend if he wants to become the sixth multi-Slam Dunk Contest champ. I’m pretty confident he’ll have a lot to work with, as he’s only further solidified himself as one of the most exciting players in the league since his return. Let’s take a look back at the best jams of his career.
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10. THE CUPCAKE (2007-08)
Before we get into the meat of the list, let’s start with some dessert. Gerald Green celebrates his birthday on January 26, but he wasn’t done blowing out the candles until mid-February, when he decided to bless us with one of the more original dunks in the competition’s history. While it may not look like much when you first watch the highlight, the replay shows you how amazingly high he can actually jump. I wonder what he wished for.
9. TOMAHAWK IT DOWN (2012-13)
Gerald Green was a big part of the Pacers’ early success this season, finally embracing the role player archetype that he’s meant for. When a guy can come off the bench and provide this kind of spark — one that brings fans to their feet in a 20-point blowout — it’s special. Green always provides that potential when he rips off the warm-ups. This soaring tomahawk slam left Bankers Life Fieldhouse in a frenzy.