DALLAS — Cal Ripken Jr. had never met A.C. Green before Thursday night, but baseball's Iron Man still felt as if he knew his kindred spirit in durability.
"I know that in the 10 or 11 years during which this streak has existed, there had to be many nights where the body said 'No,' but somewhere down deep inside, he had to go down there and dig it out and say, 'I'm going to do it, I'm going to go out and play.' That's spirit; that's heart," Ripken said Thursday night during halftime of Green's record-setting 907th consecutive NBA game.
Green indeed endured a lot, from dehydration to dental problems, while playing every game since Nov. 19, 1986, to surpass Randy Smith's record that stood for 14 years. Smith was also in attendance.
The festivities were dampened a bit by the game's result. Although Green's Dallas Mavericks rallied from a 16-point deficit to force overtime, they lost to the previously winless Golden State Warriors, 101-97. Green scored seven points, all in the first quarter, and had seven rebounds in 37 minutes.
Still, the night was filled with plenty of celebration, beginning when the game did.
Michael Finley caught the opening tip-off, called timeout and handed the ball to Green. Then NBA vice president Rod Thorn and Maverick owner Ross Perot Jr. made a more formal presentation.
The 23-minute halftime began with a video tribute, followed by gift-giving: a rocking chair, a proclamation from Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk declaring Nov. 13-20 "A.C. Green Week," a $10,000 donation to his youth foundation and a custom-designed leather jacket with the word "Ironman" etched along a sleeve and the date around the back of the collar.
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Green Means Go
Most consecutive regular-season games played in the NBA:
* A.C. Green (907)
Nov. 19, 1986--present
* Randy Smith (906)
Feb. 18, 1972--March 13, 1983
* Johnny Kerr (844)
Oct. 31, 1954--Nov. 4, 1965
* Dolph Schayes (706)
Feb. 17, 1952--Dec. 26, 1961
* Bill Laimbeer (685)
Nov. 15, 1981--Jan. 27, 1989
* Harry Gallatin (682)
Nov. 27, 1948--March 12, 1958
* Michael Cage (666)
April 23, 1989--present
* John Stockton (609)
Feb. 13, 1990--April 20, 1997