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Willie Green comes ‘home’ to New Orleans

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 10:55 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - There’s just something about truly being home that has no equal. And while Willie Green only spent a year here during his playing career, and he’s technically born and raised in Detroit, the impact that the Big Easy left on him makes his return to New Orleans, indeed, feel like a homecoming.

“Getting traded here to New Orleans was one of the best basketball experiences of my life,” says Green. “The people, the community, the food, the culture.”

Obviously, things have changed since Green was last here 10 years ago. First and foremost, there’s new ownership that believes they’re overdue for success.

“No pressure, but now, we look forward to you making a championship run right here in New Orleans,” says team owner Gayle Benson.

But they wouldn’t have hired Green if they didn’t think he could do the job. And it sounds like, from the very start, both sides were keen on working together to build a winner.

“All of our conversations were at ease and comforting,” says Green. “And we were all honest with each other. Griff was honest. I was honest about things that I saw or things that happened here. Griff was straightforward with me. Talking to Mrs. B (Benson) was awesome. I felt like this was the perfect fit for myself and my family.”

And while it’s obviously vital that Green left a positive impact during his own interview with the Pelicans, executive vice president David Griffin says just as important was the positive feedback he got back league-wide about the hire that he was about to make.

“When you’re doing a search for any employee, and you call and you ask their references about them and what you hear is, ‘She’s very nice. She’s very professional. She’ll be very good,’ that sends one message,” says Griffin. “But when what you hear is, ‘That is the dude and if you don’t get him, you’re an idiot,’ that’s different. That second language is what you heard about Willie Green.”

So now with the coach in the building, the real work begins, or should we say, has already begun, with the reported shuffling of players and picks. It’s all a sign that hopefully this franchise is finally headed in the right direction.

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