BOSTON -- Gerald Green's story is different this time around.
After years of returning to the TD Garden as "the guy trying to stick with a team" or "the first round pick attempting make it back to the NBA," the former Celtic came to Boston on Friday as a focused 26-year-old putting down roots with the Indiana Pacers.
He wants the new chapter of his career to be free of the slam-dunking stigma he earned in his earlier years. Green says he will never enter the NBA Dunk Contest again.
"No, I don't want to," he told CSNNE.com. "I don't like that name. I want to be known for something else. I know I can never take that title away, but I don't like it. I don't want to do it."
Green entered the league as a high flyer in 2005 and won the Dunk Contest in his sophomore season. The following year, he pulled off two athletic dunks with high degrees of difficulty but got lost in the shadows of Dwight Howard's "Superman" dunk. Looking back, he believes the contest was based more on show than skill.
"I was disappointed because I felt like I should have won it," he said. "I feel like it was all Dwight. His was more of a show, mine was more difficulty. He had some difficult dunks too, but try putting a candle on a cupcake on the top of a rim and blowing it out, and then dunking. Try taking your shoes off and going between your legs and dunking like that. He got the crowd into it, I didn't know that.
"That changed the whole dunk contest. At first, it wasn't about being a show. It was about who can do the most difficult dunk you've never seen before. The dunk that Dwight did, many people did that before. But people had never seen anyone come out like they're Superman and put a show on. So now you see Nate Robinson, next year he was kryptonite and you see Blake Griffin doing all that. Now it's just a show instead of difficulty. That's why I don't want to get into it. I can't put on a show."
Green continued, "I still would have done the same thing. I grew up watching VInce Carter. He didn't put on shows. He did dunks he felt like were going to be really difficult, like put his elbow in the rim. It didn't even look that good because people didn't know what he had done, until they realized, that dude has put his whole arm in the rim. That's ridiculous. It wasn't about, let me dress up as a raptor and dunk the ball."
Green admits the contest has crossed his mind, with All-Star Weekend coming up in his hometown of Houston, Texas. But those moments are short-lived. After playing for the Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, and questioning his career while hooping overseas, Green wants to stick with the Pacers. He has only returned for a second season with one team (the Celtics) and hopes to establish himself in Indiana.
He is all for dunking in a game -- "I'd rather catch alley oops than blowout cupcake dunks," he said -- but his main focus is becoming the best overall player he can.
How serious is he? What if, hypothetically, the contest was league mandated?
"I would take a fine," he said. "I'll take a fine. That's not me anymore. I don't want to do it."