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About the Jersey Retirement

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The retirement of jerseys is considered one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a former student-athlete. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff implemented a policy in 2015 that laid the groundwork for recognizing its most stellar past performers who meet such high standards 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, membership on a medal-winning Olympic team or a team that competed in an NCAA or NAIA championship, selection to an All-America team or selection as conference player-of-the-year;
  • Having reached the professional or Olympic levels in his or her sport;
  • Having established high moral character and distinguished in professional life; and
  • Having exhausted his or her eligibility at least 10 years prior to consideration for this honor.
The first two jerseys retired were those of former basketball stars Harold Blevins and Jessie Mason in 2016. In 2017, the jerseys of two additional former Golden Lions will be retired, those of football great L.C. Greenwood and basketball great James Allen. Proceeds from this event will go to benefit the University’s athletics scholarship fund.

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Venue Information

Robinson Center | William Grant Still Ballroom
426 W. Markham Street
Little Rock, AR
Attire: Semi-formal
VIP Reception: 6 p.m.
Dinner and Program: 7 p.m.
Tickets: $100 (Dinner only) | $150 (VIP Reception and Dinner)

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Meet the Honorees

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James “Red” Allen

" "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 finished the 1962-63 season as the SWAC’s leading scorer, averaging 27.1 points per game. At the conclusion of that season, he was 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. The U.S. All-Star team included NBA Hall-of-Famer Willis Reed, Bob Love of the Chicago Bulls and Luke Jackson, the 1964 NBA Rookie of the Year.

In his junior season of competition (1962-63), Allen set the SWAC’s record for most free throws made in a game as he went a perfect 19-for-19 from the charity stripe against Southern University. He also set the school record for most points in a game with a 56-point performance in a 129-124 win over Willis Reed and Grambling State in front of a capacity crowd at Hazzard Gymnasium on the campus of UAPB.

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 has been enshrined into two halls of fames. He is a 1999 inductee into the Palm Beach (Florida) County Sports Hall of Fame and was a 2006 inductee into the SWAC Hall of Fame.

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L.C. Greenwood

" "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. Greenwood 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.

Greenwood is a six-time Pro Bowl selection (1973-1976, 1978, 1979), a two-time first team All-Pro selection (1974, 1975), a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team and a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ All-Time Team (50th Season). In 1991, Greenwood was named to the Super Bowl Silver Anniversary Team.

Upon retiring from the NFL, Greenwood was a partner in an engineering firm, owner of a distribution company and an owner of an electrical supply company. He served on several boards until his passing.

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.

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Special Guests

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Charles Edward “Mean Joe” Greene

" "Charles Edward Greene played high school football at Dunbar High School in Temple, Texas. He earned a football scholarship to North Texas State University (now University of North Texas), where he played on the varsity team from 1966 to 1968. In his tenure at North Texas State, Greene helped guide his team to a 23-5-1 record in three seasons at defensive tackle for the Mean Green Eagles. Also in those three seasons, North Texas State held opponents to 2,507 yards gained on 1,276 carries, a per-carry average of less than two yards per attempt. He was a three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection for the Mean Green Eagles. In the 1968 season, he was a Consensus College Football All-America team selection and he earned first team Associate Press, United Press International and Newspaper Enterprise Association All-America honors.

In the 1969 NFL draft, Greene was selected in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and was a first team All-Pro selection. He also was invited to his first Pro Bowl in his rookie season, despite the Steelers finishing the 1969 season with a 1-13 record.

The Steelers continued to improve with Pittsburgh finishing 5-9 in 1970 and 6-8 in 1971 and Greene being invited to the Pro Bowl both seasons. The 1972 season was the breakout season for the Steelers, with the team finishing 11-3, winning their first divisional title and playoff game. Greene finished the season with 11 sacks and 42 solo tackles and he was named the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Two seasons later, he would be named the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in his career, becoming the first player to receive the award multiple times.

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.

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Willis Reed

" "A native of Dubach, Louisiana., Reed played his collegiate years at Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana, where he helped lead the Tigers to three Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and one NAIA title.

Reed continued his basketball career after college, when he was drafted by the New York Knicks in the second round of the 1964 NBA draft. In his rookie season with the Knicks, he scored a season-high 46 points against the Los Angeles Lakers, the second most points ever scored by a Knicks rookie. He finished the season ranked seventh in the NBA in scoring, averaging 19.5 points per game, and fifth in rebounding, averaging 14.7 boards per game, in route to being named the 1965 NBA Rookie of the Year and making the NBA All-Rookie Team.

In his second season with the Knicks, Reed finished the regular season averaging 20.9 points per game and averaging 27.5 points per game in the postseason.

Reed helped lead the 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. Also that season, he was a first team All-NBA and NBA All-Defensive team selection and he was named ABC’s Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year and the Sporting News NBA MVP.

Reed finished his career in New York scoring 12,183 career points, pulling down 8,414 rebounds and dishing out 1,186 assists.

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Buy Tickets

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