Off the Court: Willie Green

Thursday, November 11, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

New Orleans reserve guard Willie Green sat down with Hornets.com, to provide more information on his background, in our series to help get you more acquainted with the many new faces on the roster and coaching staff in 2010-11.
Person who’s had the most influence on his basketball career: “My uncle Gary Green. He was one of the first people in my family to play college basketball. He played at Eastern Michigan. At a young age he saw something in me I didn’t even know I had. He was very influential in that he pushed me to be a good student, as well as a good athlete.”
People who've had the most influence on his development off the court: “My grandparents and parents. My grandparents set a good foundation for my parents to follow. For people who don’t know, I’m a spiritual guy.”
How he chose uniform number 33: “One of my favorite numbers was 7, but in high school we couldn’t wear single-digit numbers, so I went with 34, because 3 plus 4 equals 7. When I went to Philadelphia, I couldn’t wear 34, because the number is retired for Charles Barkley. So I just went one number down from that and picked 33.”
Hidden talent: “I can play a couple different instruments, including the drums and a little bit of saxophone and clarinet.”
Favorite thing about New Orleans: “The food. New Orleans food is great. You kind of have to watch the diet a little bit.”
Pregame ritual: “The only thing I stick to is 60 minutes before tip-off, we have chapel service. I go there to kind of meditate and pray a little bit. It’s my time to focus.”
First job: “Cutting grass. I was in seventh grade.”
Favorite athletes as a kid: “Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas, Muhammad Ali.”
What he’d be doing if he weren’t an NBA player: “I’d be involved in a lot of youth activities, trying to be active in the community and pushing youth to use athletics to keep them in school and give them discipline. I think sports are a great tool to help groom kids to become mature adults.”
Closest friends currently playing on other NBA teams or in other pro sports: “In football, one of my buddies is Antonio Gates. We’re both from Detroit and played against each other. We were also at the Portsmouth camp (for NBA draft prospects) together. Also Kevin Ollie, who is coaching at UConn now. Other guys I'd mention are Royal Ivey, Shavlik Randolph and Samuel Dalembert, former teammates in Philadelphia.”
Favorite type of music: "R&B."
Favorite TV show: “Growing up, it was The Cosby Show. I don’t really have one now. Most of what’s on is reality TV.”
Favorite movie of all time: "Coming to America."
Favorite website: "ESPN.com."