Las Vegas Sun

August 18, 2022

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Where I Stand: Hank Greenspun:

UNLV gives us ‘tremendous pride’

Sun founder Hank Greenspun, who was the paper’s publisher and editor for four decades, wrote about UNLV’s men’s basketball team and the community. Here is a sampling of two of those columns:

Where I Stand, March 30, 1977. The column was written after the Rebels finished third in the NCAA Tournament in Atlanta.

... Being the No. 3 team in the nation is not only a moral but a physical victory considering the age of our school and the schools with which we had to compete.

So the Rebels come home from Atlanta not in sorrow but in joy for we have proven to the nation that Las Vegas has a university where formerly our projected image was only of gambling halls and easy virtue.

Las Vegas has suddenly been thrust upon the world screen as a university town like New Haven, Cambridge, Princeton and Amherst.

The two most precious things this side of the tomb are our reputation and our life. Our living is as good as any and our reputation has been catapulted into the Ivy League.

We have suddenly become a town of scholars, which is the image of most university areas. Just another plus for our Chamber of Commerce when making their pitch for industry. Few captains of industry would be willing to locate in a gambling community because of the difficulty in attracting top executive personnel to a noncultural area. But who, no matter how advanced scientifically or culturally, would deny a college town?

So any approach we may take to the return of the Rebels yesterday afternoon, they have brought us fame, fortune and honor in the world community. For this, we are grateful and prideful in Jerry Tarkanian and his runnin’, gunnin’ Rebels.

Long may they live.

Where I Stand, Feb. 13, 1987. The column was written in the last weeks of the regular season after UNLV suffered bad publicity when a recruit named Lloyd Daniels was arrested during a drug raid. The Runnin’ Rebels opened the year by winning the preseason National Invitation Tournament — earning the title in double overtime with a stunning come-from-behind victory — and finished the year in the NCAA’s Final Four.

We’re not No. 1. We’re No. 1-plus.

The Runnin’ Rebels have more cause to hold their heads high and walk tall than any college team in the nation. And simply because they come from Las Vegas.

Our town has long had a negative image in the perception of the outside world. It relates back to the time when we were the only state in the union that tolerated and then legalized gaming.

For any of our community to be judged successful in the eyes of other states, we have to be twice as good, whether it be the business community, the private citizen, our schools or even an athletic team.

In order to better our image, we have to be twice as zealous and disciplined about our morality, propriety and legality.

Organized crime can be rampant in every state in the union. It can be in every statehouse, but catch one mobster in a Nevada hotel and the press of the nation, federal law enforcement and every agency of government charges in to chastise us and put everyone they can sting behind bars.

When we’re good, we have to be twice as good to get recognition. But when we’re half bad, we are doubly bad in the eyes of the world.

So when the UNLV basketball team is acclaimed as No. 1, it’s really No. 1-plus, because such distinction does not come easily for any of our endeavors. ...

Unfortunately, the press is too quick to jump on the negative side. The arrest of a promising recruit is sensational and when it is covered by TV in a sting operation, it becomes even more so.

But it shouldn’t spill over onto a super No. 1-plus team that merits every honor the athletic world can bestow.

The Runnin’ Rebels have given Las Vegas tremendous pride. They have brought us honor and our hearts are filled with hope for even greater rewards. There should be no room for negativism.

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