Every time Willie Green returns to the Wells Fargo Center, he sees so many familiar faces.
He remembers each security guard’s name. He stops in the Sixers’ locker room to say hello to all his old friends.
Last weekend, Green arrived in town with his new team, the Atlanta Hawks. The Sixers dismantled the Hawks, 90-76, though Green was solid with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including a pair of three-pointers.
Green signed with the Hawks as a free agent on Dec. 22. He played his first seven seasons with the Sixers before being traded (Sept. 23, 2010) to New Orleans, along with Jason Smith, for Craig Brackins and Darius Songaila.
“It’s been a couple years now since I left, and I still enjoy coming back to see all the friendly faces here,” said Green, who was drafted No. 41 overall in the 2003 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics. “I had a lot of good memories here in Philadelphia. I was fortunate to have that dream of playing in the NBA and I’m still lucky to still be living that dream.”
The Hawks are a team on the rise. Entering last night’s action, Atlanta (13-5) held the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. But so are the Sixers, something Green anticipated.
“I saw it coming, especially after last season,” Green said. “It’s a credit to the coaching staff. It’s a credit to the players working hard to build on what they did last season. This is not an easy place to come in and get a win right now. I think this team has a tremendous upside.”