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May 25, 2019

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Sidney Green: Men’s Basketball (1979-83)

FirstLook at UNLV basketball

Leila Navidi

Sidney Green, a former UNLV player and the second all-time in points scored, waves to the crowd as the UNLV basketball team celebrates its first practice with a special event for fans at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Sidney Green: Men's Basketball

UNLV player Wink Adams, right, hugs Sidney Green, a former UNLV player and the second all-time leader in points scored, during a ceremony at the UNLV basketball team's first practice at the Thomas & Mack Center on Friday. Launch slideshow »

Sidney Green came to UNLV at a time when the program was not the most attractive place to play. UNLV had made a Final Four appearance in 1977, but the Rebels were struggling to regain legitimacy following sanctions from the NCAA.

Green, a Brooklyn native, was a highly touted recruit with offers from programs closer to home, and despite the naysayers who said Green was crazy to play for UNLV, Rebels coach Jerry Tarkanian convinced Green to come to Vegas.

He took a gamble coming to UNLV, and it paid off, as he became one of the most prolific Rebels ever.

Only one player in UNLV history, Eddie Owens, scored more career points than Green (2,073 points), and he is one of four Rebels to reach the 2,000-point mark. The tough-minded player made a name for himself as an enforcer, fighting in the paint and grabbing more rebounds (1,276) than anybody in history.

While Green’s teams never made it past the first round of the NCAA tournament, he created a legacy for himself in Vegas. Of the eight players with their jerseys hanging from the Thomas & Mack Center rafters, Green had his number retired first.

During his senior year in 1983, Green was named a first-team All-American and led the Rebels to their first NCAA tournament appearance since their Final Four run in 1977.

The Chicago Bulls drafted Green in the first round of the NBA draft in 1983 and he played 10 seasons with six different teams. After retiring from the NBA, Green continued his basketball career as a head and assistant coach for several college programs.

His son, Taurean Green, won the 2006 and 2007 NCAA Tournament with the Florida Gators. Green now makes his home in Vegas, currently working as a domestic marketing host for Wynn Casinos.

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