Christian Athlete: A C Green

Christians can be found in every occupation and every part of the country, and sports are no exception. Some of the greatest athletes can also be devoted Christians, though it is definitely not easy for a person in the public eye to live out a Christian life when they are constantly pelted with derision and mocked for their life choices. This is certainly true in the life of A. C. Green.

A C Green, whose initials are just initials based on his father’s parents’ names but do not stand for anything, was born in 1963. His family lived in Portland, Oregon, where he graduated from Benson Polytechnic High School in 1981. He became a Christian while in high school. After graduating, he went to Oregon State University for four years, where he played basketball throughout. When he finished growing, he was 6 feet 9 inches tall and very agile.

AC Green

In his junior year of college, he ranked fourth nationally with a .657 field goal percentage and during his senior year, the All-America Third Team included him.

When Green was chosen to join the Los Angeles Lakers, it was in the first round, and the third overall pick in 1985. He played for the Lakers for 8 years, from 1985 until 1993.

He signed with the Phoenix Suns in 1993 and played on their team until 1996, aiding them in improving their overall game. He was nearly sidelined when he was elbowed in the face by an opposing player intentionally which knocked out two of his teeth and injured his head, but he was able to keep playing with additional protective gear and limited game time for several games.

In 1997, Green was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, with whom he played until 1999, during which he surpassed the milestone of 1,000 games played consecutively.

He went back to the Lakers in 1999-2000 where he was part of winning the NBA championship.

His last season was played with the Miami Heat, in 2000-2001. When he finished his consecutive game streak on April 18, 2001, he had played 1,192 games in a row. In his entire career, he only missed three games, all in the second season. His consecutive streak started on November 19, 1986.

He was given the nickname Iron Man but is more known for his stance on abstinence. The culture in which Green lived in the NBA was one of promiscuity. Despite this, Green stuck by his Christian principles. He was a virgin when he joined the NBA and he was a virgin when he left, despite his teammates attempting to encourage him to compromise. They even tried sending a girl to his room to tempt him, but he refused. They would ask him to come party with them, but he would not go out with them, and would pray for them. He was known for always carrying a Bible with him.

At one point, his teammates started a betting pool on whether he would give in to the temptation to engage in sex and the pool got up to $600. They told him if he did not have sex in two months, he could have the money. They were sure he would succumb before then but he did not. In the film that was made about Green, the question is asked of him, “So, you get a knock on your hotel room door. You look through the peephole and you see a half-naked woman who wants to come in. What do you do?”

“I would just start saying prayers super loud,” was Green’s reply.

He played ball aggressively, believing that Jesus would have played that way. He lived a Christian life in all areas, refusing to drink alcohol or use expletives.

After retiring from basketball in 2001, Green got married in April 2002. Six months later, in an interview with Good Morning America, he told them that waiting was definitely worth it, and that he had no regrets.

During his basketball years, in 1985, Green founded the A C Green Youth Foundation, which encouraged young people to practice abstinence, along with leadership programs to help children reach their potential and mentoring kids to help them succeed. The organization still exists today and is going strong after 31 years.

A documentary about his life is part of the “30 for 30 Fifth Anniversary” box set from ESPN. His segment is titled “A.C. Green: Iron Virgin” and it talks about how he maintained firmly his convictions no matter where he lived – even in Los Angeles. He was described with the phrase “could stay strong and not be broken.”


1. Victory: The Principles of Championship Living

Green’s book discusses his career highlights throughout his basketball years starting in high school, as well as his personal life as a Christian. He lists fifty-two principles that can be used to live a championship life.

2. A C Green

Part of the Today’s Heroes series, this book tells the story of Green and how, though he was on a team with Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley, he did not live life in the same way as these men did.

3. 1987-88 Basketball Card

This rookie card shows Green during his early years with the Lakers.

4. Basketball Card 1988-89

Fleer basketball card from Green’s 1988-89 season with the Lakers.

5. Basketball Card 1990-91 All-Star

Authentic Fleer card portrays A C Green during All-Star weekend in Miami in February 1990.

6. 1991-92 Lakers Basketball Card

Official NBA Fleer trading card features Green with the Lakers, performing a dunk.

7. 1995-96 Phoenix Suns Trading Card

This official SkyBox trading card features Green during his time with the Phoenix Suns.

8. Space Jam

Green appears in this fun movie that features many NBA sportsmen. A team of basketballers includes a variety of animated characters from Looney Tunes, such as Bugs Bunny, as well as sports greats such as Michael Jordan.