The NBA star who stayed a virgin during his 16 year career

A.C. Green dunks over Larry Bird during the 1987 NBA Basketball Finals. Photo / Getty
A.C. Green dunks over Larry Bird during the 1987 NBA Basketball Finals. Photo / Getty

Let's be honest guys, there's plenty of us out there who weren't - or aren't - virgins by choice.

Most men grow up dreaming of the day they finally get to seal the deal with a woman who isn't repulsed by all of their faults, and can't wait to round third and be waved home as soon as possible.

But A.C. Green isn't most guys.

The former LA Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat power forward went his entire 16-year NBA career without ever getting jiggy with a woman. It wasn't due to his looks or personality or anything of the like - it was because he wanted to.

When he was drafted to the Lakers in 1985, they were in the midst of "Showtime" - the era in the 80s when their style of basketball was unlike anything the NBA had ever seen. Their players were some of the most famous sportsmen in the country.

And then there were the Laker Girls. Green thought he'd seen all there was to see when it came to cheerleaders during his high school career. But this was something else. "There was a difference, I will say that," he said.

Getting laid would have been oh so easy for the men in gold. But Green wasn't having a bar of it.

In an instalment of ESPN's 30 for 30 Shorts series, Green and former Lakers teammates reminisced about his unusual stance towards making sweet love.

He chose to be a virgin because he was a religious man who didn't believe in sex before marriage. In ESPN's video, former Laker Byron Scott said "he was a man of God" while Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recalled how Green "carried his Bible with him all the time".

When the team invited him out he used to decline, saying: "I won't go out with you guys but I'll pray for you guys," according to Michael Cooper.

Had he ventured out, his will to stay celibate would surely have been tested to the extreme, particularly at the Forum Club - a place at the Lakers' stadium that hosted parties full of women, drugs and booze.

"Forum Club was like a small version of Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion," said Cooper.

"Magic (Johnson)'s parties were outstanding. Lots of dancing," said Louis Gossett Jr.

"How did you concentrate on playing basketball with these good looking women? They were the finest, sexiest, most alluring women. You had to be quite strong."

And strong Green was. As impressive as his work ethic and rebounding game on the court was, his will power off it was even more remarkable.

Sports writer Jeff Pearlman described "Showtime" as "a sexual carnival", but Green had a simple solution for avoiding temptation. When asked what he'd do if scantily clad women came to his hotel room, again the answer revolved around God.

"I'd just start praying, saying prayers super loud."

Green was so dedicated to his mission he even starred in a rap video - called "It ain't worth it" - to preach abstinence.

And while his devotion to religion impacted his life away from basketball, it also played a vital role in his approach to the sport. Green was an animal on the floor, renowned for his physicality and take-no-prisoners mentality.

"I'm going to hit and I'm going to hit and I'm going to hit, and I got that from reading the Old Testament," said Green.

"I think Jesus would have been the kind of basketball player that would have been unstoppable."

While Green had one streak going with his (lack of a) love life, he was powering through another one in the NBA. In his 16 years as a professional basketballer, he missed only three games - forced to sit out after thumb surgery.

In all he played 1192 consecutive games - an NBA record - and retired in 2001 as the NBA Iron Man.

But for all his teammates' efforts to "corrupt" Green along the way, his strength of character shone through, something that made an impression on all the Lakers.

James Worthy said it best.

"Being able to stay strong and not be broken and to still be able to stick to his guns - that to me is what stands out the most."

- news.com.au

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