Camerato: Gerald Green will never enter dunk contest again

976157.jpg

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."

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Former Ravens and Jets linebacker - now an "NFL Today" analyst for CBS - Bart Scott usually "can't wait" to make his disdain for Tom Brady and the Patriots known. 

He was back at it Tuesday in an interview with CBS Radio's Damon Amendolara, in which he said the Falcons have the better quarterback heading into Super Bowl LI.

“We know they’re the better offense, and right now, you could say they got the better quarterback because they have the MVP of the league,” Scott said. Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL MVP, which will be announced the night before the Super Bowl at the "NFL Honors" show.

“Now that’s a debate, but Matt Ryan has earned the right for his name to be put up there with the upper-echelon quarterbacks," Scott said. "He’s always been elite in the regular season, but now he’s taken this show into the postseason and he’s won the hard battles against the elite quarterbacks and now you have to give him his due.”

More from Scott: “I can’t see the Patriots stopping this offense. So, that means that these receivers are going to have to [keep] pace. It’s all going to come down to what it always comes down to. It’s going to come down to who makes the turnovers, who gets up early and puts the pressure on the other team. Matt Ryan and that offense showed me a lot when they went behind [in the divisional round against the Seahawks]. Seattle came and busted them in the face, and [Atlanta] went right back down and answered immediately.

"The Patriots always find a way, but I think it makes it more close of a game than what people think.”

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.

*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.

*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.

*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.

*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.

*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.

*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.