Austin, TX – (August 24, 2018) Jordan Green rushed in to the 2017 Austin Spurs local player tryouts 20 minutes late. He was handed the very last t-shirt available, a triple XL that he would later be thankful made him standout amongst his peers.
“I didn’t plan it that way, but that’s how it happened,” Green said.
Just two years previous, after playing basketball for four years at Texas A&M, Green did not have any serious plans to play basketball postgrad. He graduated, and after a small professional stint overseas, took a traditional office profession. He took his first-ever job, working at a Big Four financial firm in Dallas, trading his tennis shoes for ties and his basketball shorts for button ups.
He settled in to the nine-to-five lifestyle. Although it was much different from the life he previously lived as a collegiate Division One athlete, he liked coming home to his wife in time for dinner, having their own apartment together and a set plan for the future.
But through the conference calls and the lunch meetings, he still thought about basketball. It was hard not to. His office was in the heart of downtown Dallas in a high rise with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks.
“It taunted me,” Green said. “I got to see people file in for games when I stayed at work late. I had to walk past it every time I took the train home. It kind of always stayed in the back of my mind.”
His desire to return to the court grew every time he passed the arena. His parents had stopped bringing up basketball to him, as it had become a kind of ‘taboo’ subject in his family. But his wife saw his passion and encouraged him to get back on the court. He started playing for fun and playing with friends who constantly told him, “you can still play.”
In the summer of 2016, he changed his plans. Green began training while working his nine-to-five and started living a “double life.” In the fall, he tried out for the Erie Bayhawks, the G League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks. He made the training camp roster but was cut before the season began. Instead of being discouraged, his itch to return to the court only got “wayyyyyyyy worse.” Unfortunately, he had to return to the office instead.
For the next year, he continued living his double life of working a corporate job and training for his next opportunity. Twelve more months of back and forth in front of the American Airlines Center kept him focused on his new plan.
In the fall of 2017 he decided to go all in on basketball. He had quit his office job and he and his wife had moved in with his parents in the Dallas suburb of Flower Mound, Texas. He tried out for the Texas Legends, his local G League team, affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. He made it to the final round of tryouts but was cut at the last minute.
Yet again another opportunity arose, and his plans changed once more. The next week, the Austin Spurs were holding local player tryouts just three hours south.
The morning of tryouts, Green woke up at four a.m. full of energy and truly felt as though his plans were finally panning out. He and his father drove from Dallas, reminding Green of his AAU days, during which they had covered countless miles of highway from tournament to tournament. Green registered for tryouts on his phone in the car during the ride.
After they arrived in Austin, he ended up being last in line. His father had written him a check to cover the cost of tryouts that Green promised to pay back. When he got to the front of the line and excitedly presented the check, he was informed that only cash was accepted. He saw this as a sign that it was all over.
An Austin Spurs employee suggested her son drive Green to a bank down the street. Luckily, he had just received the last paycheck from his old job and had some money in the bank.
They hustled back to tryouts and Green, already 20 minutes late, was handed that triple XL t-shirt.
Green became one of two players from local player tryouts that made it on to the Austin Spurs 2017-18 roster that would eventually go on to win the inaugural G League Championship. He had a totally new job, with coaches instead of bosses, teammates instead of coworkers. He credits the smoothness of his transition back to basketball to James Singleton, Austin Spurs assistant coach and former NBA player, who helped him feel comfortable again in tennis shoes instead of ties. But even after this vast lifestyle change, Green still saw parallels from his former office life.
“The Austin Spurs are run just like the San Antonio Spurs,” Green said. “Coming from one of the top four financial firms, seeing how it’s so professional, it was just like that in Austin too. It was such a professional environment, and everyone treated their job like it was the most important thing to them. I learned how to be a professional in the basketball realm.”
After the championship celebrations were over, he played with the San Antonio Spurs during the Utah Jazz Summer League and MGM Resorts Las Vegas Summer League, getting him another step closer to his ultimate goal.
“The NBA is the goal for sure, but I want to be the best that I can be and play as long as I can,” said Green. “Because I know the other side. I know, day after day, the waking up at a certain time, the grind, it’s really hard. The office grind, it’s difficult.”
After a year in his most recent opportunity, his intentions remain the same. He wants to stay on the court and out of the office.
He didn’t plan it this way, but that’s how it happened.