“Mean Joe” Greene, Willis Reed to speak at jersey retirement event

Jerseys of James “Red” Allen, L.C. Greenwood to be retired

photo-compFootball legend “Mean Joe” Greene and Basketball great Willis Reed will headline as special guests for the Ultimate Honor Jersey Retirement that will honor the late James “Red” Allen and the late L.C. Greenwood. The semi-formal affair will be held Friday, February 24 in the William Grant Still Ballroom of the Robinson Center. Festivities will begin with a VIP reception at 6 p.m. followed by a dinner and program at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person for dinner only, and $150 per person for the VIP reception and dinner.

A former member of the Pittsburg Steelers, Greene played in 181 out of a possible 190 games and recorded 78.5 sacks in his 13-year career with the Steelers, leaving a legacy that is still marveled at today.

Reed helped lead the New York Knicks to a franchise-best 60 wins during the 1969-70 season as the Knicks set a single-season NBA record with an 18-game win streak. He became the first player in NBA history to be named the NBA All-Star Game MVP, NBA regular-season MVP and the NBA Finals MVP in the same season.

The retirement of jerseys is considered one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a former student-athlete. This highly-acclaimed recognition is given to stellar past performers who meet high standards such as having achieved national or international acclaim while at the University by becoming an NCAA (or NAIA) record-holder, national champion or national category leader, or membership on a medal-winning Olympic team. Now in its second year, the first two jerseys retired were those of former basketball stars Harold Blevins and Jessie Mason in 2016. This year, two honorees will be recognized posthumously: the jersey of football great L.C. Greenwood and basketball great James “Red” Allen. Proceeds from this event will go to benefit the University’s athletics scholarship fund.

One of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s most prolific basketball players of all time, James “Red”Allen possessed an exceptional shooting skill and was a natural defender. That combination that made him one of the finest players to ever come out of the state of Florida. A native of West Palm Beach, Florida, Allen led UAPB (then Arkansas AM&N) in scoring four straight seasons (1960-1964). He was a four-time All-Southwestern Athletic Conference selection who also earned NAIA Division I All-America honors. Allen finished his career at UAPB scoring 2,837 career points and is the school’s all-time leading scorer. Allen was also selected to play on the United States All-Star team that performed against the Russian All-Star team, where he led the American All-Stars in scoring. After he graduated from Arkansas AM&N, Allen toured five years with the Harlem Clowns. He made five commercials for Nike which were featured in the Soul of the Game by John Huet. Allen was a 1999 inductee into the Palm Beach (Florida) County Sports Hall of Fame and a 2006 inductee into the SWAC Hall of Fame.

L.C. Henderson Greenwood was a four-year letter winner in football at Arkansas AM&N College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) from 1965 to 1969. He was a four-year starter on the Golden Lions’ defensive line and was a 1968 Ebony All-American and an All-Southwestern Athletic Conference selection. Greenwood was selected in the 10th of round of the 1969 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his 13-year career with the Steelers, he was a member of the team’s famed “Steel Curtain” defense and a member of four Super Bowl championship teams (IX, X XII, XIV). In the 1971 season with the Steelers, Greenwood led the team in quarterback sacks with 8.5. He finished his career in Pittsburgh with 73.5 career sacks and is only the second player in franchise history to accomplish such a feat. A native of Canton, Miss., Greenwood has been enshrined and honored on several occasions. In 2006, his high school, Canton High School, honored him by retiring his number 71 jersey and inducting him into their Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the SWAC of Fame in 2004, the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2015, the MEAC/SWAC Legends Hall of Fame; the Mississippi Hall of Fame in 1996; the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Arkansas AM&N/UAPB Hall of Fame in 2000.

Tickets may be purchased at www.uapb.edu/ultimatehonor or in the Development Office, located in Childress Hall at UAPB, or by phone at 575-8701 or 575-8703.

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