Donte Greene Saves A Life

May 27, 2009 – 7:45 am by Tas Melas

Donte Greene plays forward for the Sacramento Kings.  The NBA’s current playoff slogan is: “Where Amazing Happens” – but amazing happened far away from the basketball floor in this instance.  Greene saved someone’s life in a Memorial Day boating accident when a woman who couldn’t swim found herself in the water.  I’ll let him tell the story below but it’s astonishing what humans are capable of when they don’t think and are forced to go on intuition.  This story isn’t about sports – it’s about a man who plays a sport who did something which reaches far beyond the sporting world – he just happened to use his athletic abilities to do accomplish it.  The former member of the Syracuse Orange joined KHTK in Sacramento to breakdown the scenario, how there wasn’t a decision to be made, and how he had no idea why the radio station contacted him in the to do the interview.

What happened, Donte?

“We went down the American River, out there having fun, we were linked up with a few boats and everything.  Been out there, basically all afternoon, so we were wrapping everything up, everyone was grabbing their buoys and everything, untying and trying to leave.  She had let one of her friends drive her boat so she was at the back of the boat trying to pull her ladder in, and I guess she didn’t know she was back there and hit the engine and she flew off the back of the boat.  So, I didn’t know, I thought she could swim, she couldn’t swim, I think I’m a swimmer, I was a lifeguard coming up in high school.  So, I guess I just reacted and just jumped in, someone threw her a life preserver and I pulled her in to a boat (someone else’s) – almost got run over by one…”

What was going through your head when you jumped in?

“I didn’t even think about it, it was just instinct.  You see somebody in a position and you know you can help them out.  The water, I’m not even gonna lie, was freezing, freezing cold, but I was hot anyway so the water cooled me off, so that was good… It was just something that happened.”

Showing his humility about the moment he was asked to come on KHTK:

“I got the text earlier that you guys wanted to have me on and I didn’t even know what was going on, I thought a bad rumor had started.  You know, these days everybody’s saying all sorts of things.  No problem having me on, I’m just she’s okay and everything.”

Listen to Donte Greene on KHTK in Sacramento with Grant & Mike

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  1. 12 Responses to “Donte Greene Saves A Life”

  2. This is truly an inspiring story. I admire that he just acted with nothing but the well-being of another human being in mind. And his humility in the face of this is uplifting in itself. So many of us, especially when already exposed to the spotlight of pro sports, would be looking for an opportunity to promote such an incident and big up themselves. He’s just glad the lady is okay. That’s a real hero.

    By Graham Thordarson on May 27, 2009

  3. Thank goodness she survived. It is so awesome that he was at the right place at the right time and acted on the situation so quickly. Since he is an athelete the story is being targeted in more places and people are able to see how serious boat safety really is. What if he wasn’t there? Even if people say they can swim it is extremely important to wear a life jacket while boating. Check out for more information on how to prevent accidents like this one.

    By SafeBoater on May 27, 2009

  4. I’m a huge SU hoops fan, but never a big Donte Greene fan…until now. He’s a hero doing something much more important than just hoisting threes!!! Kudos to you, Donte.

    By Mike S. on May 28, 2009

  5. way 2 go!! Job well done!! i am more than proud of you and i know your mom is doing cartwheels, keep up the great work!
    your aunt

    By aunt tonya on Oct 14, 2009

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