In December 2011, a routine physical detected an aortic aneurysm, something that could have ended Green's career—or worse yet, his life.
Fortunately for Green, he underwent successful surgery to repair the issue and was eventually cleared to play again.
All that being said, the experience humanized Green. At the end of the day, he's more than just a professional athlete. He's a human being, which means he's no different from you and me.
And that's why every NBA fan should be cheering for Green's comeback.
We've all had moments when the deck was stacked against us, but through courage and perseverance, we're able to overcome even the most insurmountable obstacles. Green is obviously no different.
An athletic forward known for his ability to run the floor, Green was a highly-conditioned athlete in his prime at the time of his diagnosis. But after having both his life and career threatened, the 26-year-old was forced to step away from the game until he was well enough to play again.
When that day came, Green wasn't yet quite out of the woods. Due to the severity of his condition, he essentially had to start over from scratch and rebuild his body, all the while knowing full well that he may be forced into an early retirement.
But Green didn't give up on the game, and fans, regardless of where their loyalties lie, shouldn't write him off, either. You don't have to root for the Celtics, but you should appreciate and respect Green's situation.
Green's comeback is one of those momentous victories ingrained in everyday life. Such victories may seem small on the surface, but they are what binds us together as a society, regardless of occupation or social status.
Say what you want about his contract, which is, to be fair, overvalued at 4 years and $36 million.
Yes, the Celtics are taking a gamble at that price, but GM Danny Ainge clearly saw it as one worth taking. Plus, both sides most likely built certain clauses into the contract in order to protect themselves in the event that Green experiences a setback.
Nonetheless, Ainge displayed his faith in Green by signing him to a long-term deal.
The Celtics will open the season in South Beach against Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat in a fitting rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Finals. Though there won't be any ubuntu-laden cheers from the crowd, Green should at least receive a modest reception when he checks into the game.
If Green does indeed return to form this season, it will be a remarkable achievement not just for him and the Celtics. His success would further show us that true courage and faith—in ourselves and in others—is crucial to making the seemingly impossible possible.
Sports is something that returns us to normalcy. That's why we watch them.
For a few hours here and there, we can fully immerse ourselves in the game we love, and despite all the stress that comes with devoting oneself to a sports franchise, we ultimately end up feeling better than we did initially. With each victory comes a wave of excitement.
That's what sports is all about.
Green's situation is no different. If you're a Celtics fan, an NBA fan or just an admirer of sports in general, tip your hat off to Jeff Green for fighting adversity and uncertainty—because we do it everyday.
Each time we overcome that tedious hurdle or meet that daunting challenge, it's a true testament to the individual. Those are intangible victories—the ones that aren't recorded in columns.
And those victories are the ones that count the most.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!