Danny Green joins LeBron James, two others in exclusive club of champs – Redlands Daily Facts

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Wherever Danny Green goes, championships seem to follow.

“Been very lucky,” he said Sunday after the Lakers clinched the 2020 NBA title by beating the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals – a feat that qualified Green and LeBron James among just four players who have won titles with three franchises.

The other two members of the club: Robert Horry and John Salley.

James’ previous titles came in 2012 and 2013 with the Heat and in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Green – an NCAA champion with North Carolina in 2009 – also won NBA titles in 2014 with the San Antonio Spurs (against James’ Heat) and in 2019 with the Toronto Raptors.

“Been part of some great teams, great organizations, some great teammates,” said Green, who contributed 11 points to Sunday’s championship-clinching victory. “But this is special, man. It’s unbelievable, to be mentioned with certain names that I’d never thought I’d be mentioned with as a kid growing up.

“It’s a dream come true to play in this league, let alone be a part of some of the greats that I’ve watched growing up as a youngster – and being with the King, man. Unbelievable.”

The franchise’s NBA-record-tying 17th championship likely will help the most critical of fans get over their negative feelings following Friday’s loss, when Green missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with just a few seconds left, costing the team a chance to clinch a couple of days earlier.

On Sunday morning, Green spoke to the media about the fact that his fiancee, Blair Bashen, received death threats over the missed shot.

“I had to ask, ‘Are you getting death threats?’” Green said. “And she said, ‘Yeah, you are too’, and I was like, ‘I don’t know,’ because I don’t really pay attention or care. Nor am I upset, shaken or worried about it. I’m just not one of those types of people.”

Green called himself an “easy target,” and it’s been that way for much of the season. Since signing a two-year, $30 million contract in July, he’s had a winning influence on games measured by advanced statistics, but averaging 8 points per game and shooting 36.7% from 3-point range in the regular season wasn’t many fans’ idea of what that money would buy.

But Green said he was capable of blocking out the outside noise.

“The only people in that locker room and on this roster are the opinions that are relevant and that matter to me,” he said. “And if they’re still confident in me and still encouraged and still believe in me and believe in us, that’s all that matters to me: That we can get this thing done.”

HOWARD MAKES GOOD ON PROMISE

In the end, perhaps the Lakers’ most-iffy signing turned out to be maybe the most inspired.

In his second stint with the Lakers, Dwight Howard delivered on his pledge last summer when he said: “My goal is just to win, there’s nothing else that matters. Whatever I have to do to be a great teammate, whatever I have to do on the court, it’s all about winning, the only thing that matters is winning the championship.”

Prior to this season, Howard was a Laker once before, in 2012-13, when he was an All-Star and led the league in rebounds, but the team was eliminated, disappointingly, in a first-round playoff sweep.

Howard then bolted in free agency a few months later, leaving a sour taste with many Lakers fans, whose team didn’t make the playoffs again until this season, when the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year returned to L.A. with baggage subsisting of locker room chemistry questions.

Howard’s only previous trip to the NBA Finals was with the Orlando Magic, who lost to the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers in 2009. But moments after winning his first title on Sunday, a grinning Howard marveled at the arduous route it took him to achieve it.