The Iron man was back in South Pasadena last week.
A.C. Green played 16 years in the NBA, missing only three games at the beginning of his second season as a result of thumb injury, but what followed is a record-setting feat that likely will never be broken.
Once he was back on the mend, he played an amazing 1,192 straight games with the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, earning the nickname “Iron Man” for the unparalleled achievement.
Along the way, he won three NBA championships with the Lakers, twice in the 1980s during their Showtime era and again in 2000 in his second go-around with the team.
Green returned to South Pasadena for the 8th straight year last week, joining dozens of kids and coaches on the court at his annual summer basketball camp at South Pasadena High. The experience traditionally focuses on encouraging integrity, teamwork, cooperation and sportsmanship.
The camp, presented by the South Pasadena Educational Foundation (SPEF), exposes youth to positive role models and leadership figures, teaching athletic skills and character development while providing a fun experience.
“SPEF was thrilled to work with the AC Green Youth Foundation for the 8th year,” said the organization’s executive director. “AC Green uses basketball to help campers focus on leadership skills and character building, highlighting the positive path that students can choose in their own daily life. It is a great feeling to see kids realize that no matter their skill level, their contributions matter and not only on the court.”
Green’s consecutive game streak began on November 19, 1986 and while he’s proud of it, his main focus today is in helping develop youth become better citizens. In 1989, he launched the A.C. Green Foundation to build self-esteem and character in young people, and teach moral and ethical principles that will help them make responsible decisions.
Campers are left with memorable life lessons to “help make them a better model citizen,” explained Green who stresses sportsmanship and teamwork throughout the camp experience, which is part of the South Pasadena Educational Foundation’s (SPEF) series of summer camps, which provide students with fundamental skills, knowledge, and opportunities for character and leadership development in a variety of topics, including art, golf, soccer, tennis, science, dance, and, of course, basketball – the most popular of them all.
“I just think it’s the positive environment that AC provides,” noted SPEF Executive Director Stacey Petersen, explaining what makes the camp so popular. “It’s his philosophy of using basketball to talk about making good choices in your life. Everything leads back to who you are as a person as opposed to just being about basketball.”
Participants were given an opportunity to appreciate Green’s vision “that young people must develop morally, ethically, educationally, physically, and mentally to fulfill their dreams and goals in life,” he said, while pointing out in his Foundation’s website that everyone is a winner at his camp. “The underlying theme throughout is to accept each person for who they are, in an unconditional atmosphere of love and respect. We must educate and assist the youth to ensure a better future.”