A. C. Green, Jr. (born October 4, 1963) is an American retired National Basketball Association (NBA) player who played in more consecutive games than any other player in NBA and ABA history. With 1,192 straight games played, he earned the nickname “Iron Man”. He played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat. He was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and attended Benson Polytechnic High School. He was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. He played in 1278 out of 1281 games in his career (99.8%), with the three he missed coming in his second season, 1986–87.
The Los Angeles Lakers, fresh from winning an NBA championship, selected Green in the first round as the 23rd overall pick in the 1985 NBA draft.
Green led the Lakers in rebounding for six of his eight years on the team. Led by Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles captured back-to-back titles in 1987 and 1988, Green’s second and third years with the squad. In the two campaigns combined, he averaged 11.1 points and 8.2 rebounds while shooting better than .500 from the field. Green also reached the NBA Finals with Los Angeles in 1989 and 1991. Green was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 1988–89, was voted a starter on the 1990 Western Conference All-Star Team and finished fourth in the league in field goal percentage in 1992–93 at .537.
Green left the Lakers in 1993 to sign with the Phoenix Suns as a free agent. The Suns had just reached the NBA Finals, losing in six games to the Chicago Bulls, and they viewed Green as the missing piece to their championship puzzle. Green posted a career-high average of 14.7 points per game in 1993–94, but the Suns were eliminated in the conference semifinals. In 1994–95 he again contributed double-figure scoring and solid rebounding for the Suns, but his playing time and contributions dipped in 1995–96; though he remained the team’s second-leading rebounder. His streak of consecutive games played almost ended during a game with the New York Knicks when J. R. Reid intentionally elbowed him in the face. Green lost two teeth and suffered a head injury but was still able to continue on with his streak by wearing a protective mask and only playing a couple of minutes a game for a few weeks.
Green was traded two months into the 1996–97 season to the Dallas Mavericks in the deal that brought Jason Kidd to Phoenix. He brought reliable rebounding to the rebuilding Mavs. He tied Shawn Bradley for the team lead in rebounding in 1997–98 with 8.1 rpg, but his season highlight came on November 20 against Golden State when he played in his 907th consecutive game, becoming the league’s all-time iron man, surpassing Randy Smith’s mark of 906 consecutive games played.
Green played in his 1,000th consecutive game on March 13, 1999 against Vancouver, and finished the 1998–99 season at 1,028 in a row and counting. After 14 seasons in the league, Green had missed only three games, all during the 1986–87 season (his second in the league).
Green returned to the Los Angeles Lakers for the 1999–2000 season where he won his last NBA championship with the Lakers by defeating the resilient Sacramento Kings in five games in the first round, his former team the Phoenix Suns also in five games in the second round and finally the talented Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals en route to defeating the Indiana Pacers in six games to win the series and the Championship. He played his final season with the Miami Heat where he was reunited with Pat Riley. The Heat made the playoffs, where they were swept 3-0 by the Charlotte Hornets.
Green’s consecutive games played streak began on November 19, 1986, when the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio. The streak ended with the last game of his career on April 18, 2001 when the Miami Heat defeated the Orlando Magic in Orlando. In addition to this streak, he also managed to miss only three games throughout his entire playing career, all of which came during his second season in the NBA.
Career highlights and awards
3× NBA champion (1987, 1988, 2000)
NBA All-Star (1990)
NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1989)
Most consecutive games played in NBA/ABA history
Third-team All-American – AP, UPI (1985)
Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year (1984)
3× First-team All-Pac-10 (1983–1985)
No. 45 retired by Oregon State
Pac-12 Hall of Honor
Points 12,331 (9.6 ppg)
Rebounds 9,473 (7.4 rpg)
Steals 1,033 (0.8 spg)