Former Sevens guard Tyler Greene recalls eventful, unforgettable January 2016 roadtrip
Des Moines, Iowa. January 23. I was coming off one of my better games of the year in a big road win over the Iowa Energy. We got back to the hotel that night and as our coaches gave us the travel itinerary for the morning, they said they were “keeping an eye on the weather back home.”
That night, a blizzard was coming down on the east coast. By the time we woke up on the 24th, all airline travel was shut down at all the major east coast airports. We were stuck in Iowa. The best solution our organization had was to all bus down to Kansas City, where we’d have a better chance of getting a connecting flight. So that’s what we did. During that Sunday’s bus ride, we were streaming the AFC Championship game between my Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos (remember, I am from Knoxville. Go Vols!) and the Patriots from a coach’s computer because the bus did not have cable. Once we arrived at the hotel, I sprinted to the room to watch the Broncos get the win to go to the Super Bowl.
That next day, the 25th, all of my teammates were being shuttled in pairs to the KC airport at different times of the day. I was on the last flight out. I had a connector in Chicago that was going to take me to Baltimore, where I was going to be picked up by an 87ers staff member, that night. After lengthy delays, I arrived in Baltimore around 2 a.m. and a few hours later, around 5 a.m. or so, we ended up getting to my apartment in Delaware. All my teammates had made it throughout the course of that night from airports all over the mid-Atlantic.
Side note: being from the South, I was blown away that snow can actually come up to your thighs.
In the G League, we have multiple morning games a year and, guess what, we had a morning game that day. Tip off was at 11 a.m. against the Canton Charge. Warm ups began at 9:15. My wake up was around 7 that morning to shower, eat and drive to the arena. My thought process entering the game was “play as hard as you can for as long as you can, then go home and sleep.” I would be going head-to-head with Quinn Cook, who had been lights out that year, so I had no idea how this game was about to go. I was absolutely exhausted going into the game. I vividly remember how heavy my eyes felt and how foggy I was mentally during pre-game that morning.
Fast forward to the end of the game and, wouldn’t you know it, the Sevens got a huge win. I played the best game of my pro career to that point in the season, going for 21 points on 7-9 shooting, 3-3 from three and 5 rebounds.
Except you didn’t hear about me.
Nobody did! SportsCenter and every other sports media station was showing our game that day. The G League coverage was through the roof, but you did not see highlights of me scoring. Instead, what you remember from that game was…
Jordan scored 61 points on 21-34 shooting with 11 rebounds and 7 assists. The best single game performance of any player, in any sport, I have ever seen.
I joked with Jordan after the game and said, “I picked a bad game to set a career high,” and he responded with “Man, you are probably the reason we won!” He was only making me feel good. He just had a game for the ages and it was his day. He got and deserved all the interviews and I got to rush home to get in bed.
I graciously settled for the best and most exhausting game I had played on a road trip filled with highs and lows!