Danny Green Trophy Tour Blog
Writing this blog is Spurs basketball communications coordinator, Mitch Heckart. Mitch began with the Spurs in the PR department in April of 2012. A native Oklahoman, the 28-year-old had never been out of the continental United States prior to the #SpursTrophyTour. Follow his journey this summer with the Larry O’Brien Trophy as it visits 2014 NBA championship teammates around the world in their hometowns.
SUNDAY & MONDAY, JULY 27 & 28
After a busy day with Danny Green on Saturday, Larry and its fill-in trophy handler spent a day in New York City sight-seeing and having dinner with Spurs assistant general manager Scott Layden, who was in town to celebrate his wife's birthday with his family. We had a delicious Italian dinner at Renato's Piccolo Angolo in the West Village, a favorite of Layden's since his days with the New York Knicks. When Layden first took the job in New York he and his family were looking for a place to eat and a friend recommended Renato's. They ended up falling in love with the place and became good friends with Renato and his family. For years the Layden's would dine at Renato's every Sunday afternoon. To celebrate his wife's birthday, Layden coordinated a surprise visit from Larry. Needless to say, Larry was a huge hit and made his rounds throughout the restaurant. After numerous photos with friends and family Larry headed to back to Long Island to prepare for another busy day with Danny.
Since the Spurs celebrated their fifth NBA Championship with the River Parade on June 17, Green has been traveling all over the world with stops in Costa Rica, Antigua and even Switzerland for a basketball camp. When he finally arrived back to North Babylon last week, one of the first things he did was head to the gym to visit with the kids who were attending his annual Team Green Basketball Camp. For the past five years Danny, his father Danny Sr., along with his brothers have been hosting the Team Green camps each summer in North Babylon and the surrounding communities.
On Monday Larry made a stop at camp much to the surprise to the 115 kids who were in attendance. After watching the campers work on their skills and play a few games it was Larry's time to sit center court where each kid had their chance to take a photo with the trophy. At the conclusion of camp Danny and the entire group took photos with Larry.
What made today even more special was the camp was being held at Robert Moses Middle School, the same middle school Danny attended while growing up in North Babylon. Danny's principal and football coach from his days at Moses are still working at the school. They stopped by for a visit and were able to get some photos with Danny and Larry.
Before heading back to San Antonio Larry made one more stop. Among all of the great stories and BBQ Larry shared with the Green family Saturday, one thing that was forgotten was a family photo on the court in the backyard of the family home where Danny, his brothers, along with Danny Sr. shared so many memories.
After one last round of photos it was time for Larry to head back home to San Antonio for a brief stay. Next up on the #SpursTrophyTour is a visit to Brazil where Larry will spend a few days with Tiago Splitter.
SATURDAY, JULY 26
After a whirlwind tour of Australia, Larry returned to the U.S. and made a brief stop back home in San Antonio before embarking of the fourth leg of the #SpursTrophyTour. Next up for Larry was a trip to the East Coast for a weekend with Danny Green in his hometown of North Babylon, NY.
North Babylon is located on Long Island, about an hour away from the bright lights of New York City. The town is small and quaint and the streets are lined with brick houses with kids playing in the front yard. When Larry and I arrived Saturday morning the locals were getting ready for a parade in honor of Danny. Friends and family started gathering at the local elementary school in anticipation of Green's arrival. Little did they know that Larry would be making a surprise appearance as well.
Danny arrived around 9:45 a.m. After greeting everyone and taking photos, Green hopped in the back of a convertible and was ready for the parade. Larry finally made his first appearance and the crowd went into a frenzy.
As Danny and Larry cruised down the parade route everyone who had met them at the school walked alongside Danny while fire trucks with their sirens blaring led the way. Locals came out of their houses to join in the celebration.
The parade ended at a community park on the basketball courts where Green spent a lot of his time playing in pick-up games while growing up in North Babylon. Danny was honored by being given the key to the town of Babylon, which had only been awarded four times previously, and was named the 18th recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from Suffolk County. The Phelps Lane Basketball Courts were also renamed after Green, who plans to refurbish them. Danny spent the rest of the morning taking photos and signing autographs.
After a fun-filled morning Danny and Larry both needed to take a little break before a family BBQ later in the day. Larry and I enjoyed the evening with Danny's family and friends. Plenty of food was enjoyed (ribs, seafood pasta salad, burgers and mac and cheese, just to name a few dishes). The highlight of the evening was listening to stories of the battles between Danny and his brothers on the small court in the backyard of Danny Green Sr.'s home.
Next up for Larry on the #SpursTrophyTour is a visit to Team Green Basketball Camp with Danny.