The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday July 25th

Tar Heels in the pros: Danny Green joins rare company, captures second NBA title

<p>Danny Green hoists the 2009 NCAA championship trophy with his team. Green has since gone on to win the NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs. (DTH File Photo)</p>
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Danny Green hoists the 2009 NCAA championship trophy with his team. Green has since gone on to win the NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs. (DTH File Photo)

The Toronto Raptors' historic victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals gave the country of Canada and Raptors fans what they’ve been searching for since the beginning of the organization: an NBA title. While this accomplishment marks a series of firsts for the Raptors organization, North Carolina basketball alum Danny Green is no stranger to the championship podium.

Green joined the list of former Tar Heels to earn an NBA ring when he won his first championship with the San Antonio Spurs back in 2014. He averaged 9.2 points per game on 53 percent shooting and shot 45 percent behind the arc in the Finals. 

That title didn’t just add Green’s name to a list of Tar Heel champions, though. The victory also cemented his name on a much shorter list with some pretty elite company.

Green became one of the few players who’ve won both an NCAA and an NBA championship, joining NBA legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson. The only other Tar Heels to accomplish this feat are legendary themselves; James Worthy and Michael Jordan won it all at UNC together back in 1982, and then both went on to become champions in the pros.

With Thursday’s Finals victory, Green joins Worthy and Jordan in this right, as well: Tar Heels with multiple NBA championships.

Green was acquired by the Raptors last offseason in a trade that was headlined by Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan. Toronto’s general manager, Masai Ujiri, correctly guessed that the addition of Leonard, paired with Green’s skills as a spot-up shooter and defender, could help propel the Raptors to a Finals run.

Green’s efforts as a role player were invaluable to the Raptors success. He averaged 10.3 points per game during the regular season on an extremely efficient 45 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line. Green was an integral part of Toronto’s balanced scoring attack, as he was one of six Raptors who averaged double figures in scoring throughout the season.

During this year’s Finals, Green was largely a non-factor except for a breakout 18-point performance that helped push the Raptors to an important Game 3 road victory. Green helped counter Stephen Curry’s six 3-pointers and massive 47 point scoring night with six 3-pointers of his own. After the Warriors lost a pair of stars in Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the Raptors needed their role players to step up, and Green did just that.

Green will always be a Tar Heel born and Tar Heel bred, but winning a second NBA title in Toronto will give him some fond memories of the Raptor red. 

@Matthew_Audilet

@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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