Camerato: Gerald Green will never enter dunk contest again

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Camerato: Gerald Green will never enter dunk contest again

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."

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

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Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?