ESPN 30 for 30 Shorts: A.C. Green: Iron Virgin (2016)

Directed by Isaac Feder
Narrated by Will Ferrell

In today’s culture, and especially in today’s celebrity culture, sexuality and promiscuity are two things that have become commonplace. Much of the gossip columns pertain to who wore what revealing garb, or who is now sleeping with who. This is even prevalent among sports stars. So how is it that during the promiscuity of the “Showtime” 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, which included Magic Johnson and Karrem Abdul-Jabbar, A.C. Green stayed true to his beliefs and remained abstinent, not just during his time in Los Angeles, but throughout his entire 16 year NBA career? I guess the same could be asked about how A.C. Green, playing in a grueling, physical league, would be able to amass 1,192 consecutive games played, making him the “Iron Man” of NBA history.

Such “Iron Man” streaks are always impressive. You think of Cal Ripken Jr. and 2,632 or Brett Farve and 321 consecutive starts. Maybe it’s simply because I’m less of a basketball fan, but Green’s record seems to get far less air time than the other two records I put out there, Ripken’s especially. But that shouldn’t make Green’s 1,192 games any less impressive. The NBA is a grind, just like any other professional sport. What Isaac Feder’s documentary does is shine a light on Green and his record and his career in general, which included three NBA Championships as well. Mixed in with this story of a somewhat unheralded player is his streak in the bedroom, maintaining his virginity all the way through his playing career, until he was married in 2002, a year after he retired.

Role models these days are few and far between, especially the kind who would be so strongly outspoken about something like this, which almost seems taboo in some respects simply because it seems to have become so rare in today’s culture. A good comparison might be Tim Tebow, though it could be easily argued that A.C. Green’s playing career far exceeds that of Tebow’s. The film is nothing more than a serious of talking heads, which makes the inclusion of Will Ferrell as narrator all the more odd. He has barely more than a few lines of exposition to cover in his role that he seems buried beneath the story, or rather he is so shoehorned in that the story did not evolve in the way the director, Isaac Feder, may have envisioned it when Ferrell signed on. A.C. Green: Iron Virgin eventually does exactly what the 30 for 30 Shorts series has come to do, which is reveal a small nugget from sports past which is of some note, though also not interesting enough to be very memorable.

**1/2 – Average

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