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Sidney Green

Basketball player and college basketball coach Sidney Green was born on January 4, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York. He starred on his high school basketball team at Thomas Jefferson High School. In 1979, Green, a graduating senior, was a McDonald’s All-American selection and named the New York City Player of the Year. He chose to attend the University of Nevada at Las Vegas with a four-year athletic scholarship where he played under head coach Jerry Tarkanian. In 1983, Green was an NCAA All-American selection and he graduated that year with his B.A. degree in sociology. Green was the all-time leading rebounder and second all-time scorer in the history of the UNLV men’s basketball team.

Green was the fifth pick in the 1983 NBA Draft, where he was chosen by the Chicago Bulls to play power forward and played alongside basketball super star Michael Jordan. Green had a successful career in the NBA and went on to play for the Detroit Pistons, the New York Knicks, the Orlando Magic, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Charlotte Hornets before retiring from the league in 1993. In 1995, Green returned to basketball as head coach of the men’s basketball team at Southampton College in Long Island, New York. Despite inheriting a team that had won just six games the year before, Green led his team to twenty-nine wins and twenty-seven losses during his two years as head coach. In 1997, Green went on to coach at the University of North Florida, where he increased the team’s winning percentage by more than thirty percent. Florida Atlantic University hired Green as its head coach in 1999. He took his team to the first Atlantic Sun Conference championship in 2002, where he was named the A-Sun Coach of the Year. Green was hired as an assistant coach at the University of Indiana in 2005 and in 2009, the Chicago Bulls named him the team ambassador.

While in college, Green co-founded Shoot for the Stars Foundation in Las Vegas, Nevada. During his time with the Knicks in New York, Green participated in Governor Mario and Matilda Cuomo’s Mentor Program as a spokesperson in public schools. He also founded Sid’s Kids in Orlando, Florida while he played with the Orlando Magic. In 1989, Green received the NBA National Spirit of Love Award, given to the NBA player who has contributed significant time and energy to the community. Green’s jersey was retired by the UNLV basketball team, and he was inducted into the UNLV Hall of Fame in 1994.

Green and his wife, Deidra, have two children, LaShawn and Taurean. Taurean has also played in the NBA.

Sidney Green was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 18, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.115

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/18/2012

Last Name

Green

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Thomas Jefferson High School

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

P.S. 158 Warwick School

I.S. 302 Rafael Cordero School

P.S. 64

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sidney

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

GRE15

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Palos Verdes, California, Ft Lauderdale, Florida

Favorite Quote

The Pain Of Discipline Is Much Less Than The Pain Of Regret.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/4/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Italian Food

Short Description

Basketball player and college basketball coach Sidney Green (1961 - ) played in the NBA for ten years. After retirement, he head-coached several college teams before being appointed ambassador for the Chicago Bulls.

Employment

National Basketball Association

Southampton College

University of North Florida

Florida Atlantic University

University of Indiana

Chicago Bulls

Wynn Las Vegas

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sidney Green's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sidney Green lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sidney Green describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sidney Green talks about his relatives in New York City

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sidney Green describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sidney Green recalls how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sidney Green talks about his father's experiences in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sidney Green remembers his parents' education and occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sidney Green describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sidney Green talks about his family's move to Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sidney Green describes his upbringing in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Sidney Green remembers his childhood household

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Sidney Green describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sidney Green recalls the racial divide in the East New York section of Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sidney Green describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sidney Green remembers the influence of his older siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sidney Green talks about Jim McMillian

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sidney Green remembers his brother's murder

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sidney Green recalls his early interest in basketball

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sidney Green remembers James "Fly" Williams

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sidney Green talks about the basketball culture in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sidney Green remembers his favorite elementary school teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sidney Green talks about the assassinations of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Sidney Green recalls the start of his basketball career

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sidney Green describes his neighborhood baseball teams

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sidney Green recalls an incident that led to his interest in basketball

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sidney Green remembers his basketball mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sidney Green remembers his growing pains

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sidney Green recalls Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sidney Green remembers the guidance of his high school basketball coaches

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sidney Green recalls his decision to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sidney Green describes basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sidney Green recalls missing his high school prom to play in the McDonald's All-American Game

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Sidney Green remembers the players at the 1979 McDonald's All-American Game

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Sidney Green talks about the prominent basketball players of New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Sidney Green describes his discipline as a student athlete at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sidney Green describes Coach Jerry Tarkanian's basketball practices

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sidney Green remembers his physical training and diet regimen

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sidney Green talks about his basketball experiences at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sidney Green describes the National Invitation Tournament game

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sidney Green talks about his college basketball statistics

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sidney Green recalls being drafted by the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sidney Green describes his first year with the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sidney Green remembers his teammates on the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sidney Green recalls Michael Jordan's first year with the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sidney Green talks about his experiences with the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sidney Green recalls being traded from the Chicago Bulls

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sidney Green remembers playing for the Detroit Pistons

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sidney Green recalls buying a home for his mother in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sidney Green talks about the accomplishments of the New York Knicks

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sidney Green remembers his strongest basketball opponents

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sidney Green describes his teammates on the New York Knicks

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sidney Green describes his relationship with his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sidney Green recalls playing for the Orlando Magic

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sidney Green remembers being traded to the San Antonio Spurs

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sidney Green remembers coaches Larry Brown and Jerry Tarkanian

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sidney Green recalls being traded to the Charlotte Hornets

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sidney Green remembers Alonzo Mourning

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sidney Green talks about his retirement from the NBA

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sidney Green recalls his jersey retirement ceremony at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sidney Green talks about his philanthropic foundations

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sidney Green recalls coaching at South Hampton College in South Hampton, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sidney Green talks about his coaching experiences at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Sidney Green describes his coaching experiences at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Sidney Green describes his coaching experiences at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sidney Green describes the 2002 March Madness competition

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sidney Green recalls watching his son play for the University of Florida

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sidney Green remembers becoming the Chicago Bulls team ambassador

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sidney Green shares his analysis of the 2012 Chicago Bulls

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sidney Green talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sidney Green describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Sidney Green reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Sidney Green reflects upon his life and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Sidney Green narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$5

DAStory

11$5

DATitle
Sidney Green describes his upbringing in Brooklyn, New York
Sidney Green remembers his strongest basketball opponents
Transcript
What was life like growing up for you? I mean can you describe where you lived, and then what were some of the sights, and sounds, and smells of growing up?$$Well, it was wonderful, you know. My--I lived in a six--well, let me start from scratch. Moving from Harlem [New York, New York] to Brooklyn [New York]--remember, we lived on Jerome Street in Brooklyn--East New York section of Brooklyn. We lived on Jerome Street for about a, a year, and then my mother [Lucretia Simmons Green] found a bigger apartment--bigger home for us--for nine of us that was living--well, it was ten of us that was living in a apartment; she found a six room apartment right around the corner on Pitkin Avenue, and I remember the story she told me. She, she was walking and the then landlord was doing some work outside the apartment, and he had a sign, you know, "Apartment for Rent," and she inquired about it and he asked her how many kids she had, and she said this is the only time she ever had to tell a different story--I don't wanna use the other word but, but she said she had to because she needed a bigger place, so he asked her how many kids that she had, and she said four (laughter), and he said, "Okay." And a few weeks after that, when we moved in, he noticed all the kids (laughter). It was four plus six more, and he was like--saying something in Spanish; he said she did not wanna hear what he was asking her in Spanish 'cause he didn't speak English. But his--the landlord wife told her, you know, that, you know, "I thought she said she only had four, and she bringing all these kids." (Laughter) But he accepted her, but one thing my mother always did is she always paid her rent on time, and she always kept a clean apartment and kept us in a respectful way. And after he saw my mother's characteristics on how she was raising us, he accepted her, and we wound up living there for seventeen years--eighteen years in that, in that apartment.$$Now this is--this is quite a job, you know, when you really think of--you know, when you reflect back on something like that. There is someone who's working as a domestic--$$Um-hm.$$--and she's gotta feed what--nine children? I mean she's got (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) It was ten of us.$$Ten, yeah.$$Yeah, it was ten (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And--$$And my sister, my oldest sister [Essie Mae Walton], was living in the Bronx [New York]; she was married--she got married at that time (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Okay, so she wasn't there to help.$$She wasn't there, no, so it was ten of us.$$So, this is, this is really a, a--she did a--you know--a job!$$I think she did a phenomenal job, the best that--she always said she did the best she could and, as I've told my family, you know, to this day, it was up to us to take it to another level for her, to make it better. Unfortunately, some didn't--some decided to go a different route but, you know, she did a phenomenal job under the circumstances.$$Right. And this is New York City [New York, New York] where you don't necessarily have like the, the village kind of, you know, situation you might have in South Carolina or someplace where there are other relatives always around, and people you know (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) No, she, she did it--she did it on herself with her character, integrity, and she was able to win a lotta people over in regards on how she tried to raise us, and keep us all together. And our, our closest friends was our landlord--the ones who--and also the one--the, the residents who lived on the sec- we lived on the third floor. And also the surrounding neighborhood was, you know, a lotta Puerto Ricans, you know; they were our friends. They really brought us in and, and accepted us and made us feel like, you know, we were part of their family as well.$$Okay, okay. So, it was a lotta Puerto Ricans in the neighborhood where you grew up?$$That is correct.$$Okay, all right. Did you learn how to speak Spanish?$$Oh, yeah. I have a brother, I think, who--I wanna make sure (laughter)--Wilbert [Wilbert Green] is a--totally converted, and my brother Wilbert, he worked in a grocery store right downstairs and they, they brought him in like, like he was their family 'cause they liked him, and he wind up working in a grocery store, and learned how to speak Spanish better than how everyone else was speaking Spanish in the neighborhood, and to this day, we still, you know, say--kid him that he's a fully converted Puerto Rican, yeah so.$$(Laughter).$$It's in, it's in his blood wholeheartedly.$So, who is your--when you were playing, who was your toughest opponent that you faced, do you think?$$Individually?$$Well, as a team and as individual players, you know. Who were the toughest (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Celtics [Boston Celtics].$$The Celtics? Really?$$Kevin McHale was one of the toughest players I ever had to defend. He was so uncanny, he was so imposing; he had unbelievable post moves--up and under--just so, so good; he was just so good no matter, you know, our scout report was to be aggressive with him and deny him from his position on the box that he wanted, he always found a way to get there with his footwork, and long arms and--you know; it was like pick your poison playing against the Celtics 'cause you have--try to stop Kevin McHale from doing--and Parish [Robert Parish] doing their thing, and you have, of course, Bird [Larry Bird] out there, and you have a great point guard in Dennis Johnson, God bless him--his soul. It was tough, but they were one of my toughest teams that I've ever had to play against. I mean all--every team in the NBA [National Basketball Association] is tough, but in that year--those years with Bird and (unclear). And then, of course, the Lakers [Los Angeles Lakers], you know, with Magic [Magic Johnson], and Kareem [Kareem-Abdul Jabbar], and Worthy [James Worthy], and Jamaal Wilkes and, you know.$$Now here's Kareem; you--that, that must have been something to play against him--somebody that you've watched as a kid.$$Oh, yeah, oh, yeah (laughter). I remember my first year playing against Kareem was my rookie year; he--you know, I got in the game to defend Kareem and he, he knew I was in awe by him and, you know, first couple a possessions, you know--bang, bang, bang, and one time--next possession he--I went up for a rebound and he tried to go over me; went over my back and hit me on my head with his elbows and that woke me up quick, you know (laughter). That awe that I had of Kareem just evaporated after that hit, and I said, "Okay, I'm in a war now," (laughter) you know, so I always--when I see him, I always kid him about that experience I had with him on that, on that, on that game. But he was a remarkable player.$$Now, is he--do you think--I've often thought--now this is just me look--well, watching--I was at a game once with the Bulls [Chicago Bulls] and the, and the Lakers when they had Artis Gilmore, and if Artis Gilmore was 7'1", how tall was Kareem? Kareem seemed like he was taller--much taller than Artis Gilmore.$$I think they say he was 7'2"; he was about a inch taller than him.$$Yeah, but I don't know; seem like he was much taller, but I don't know if that's (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Kareem, his physique was long and, you know--long, and Artis had a, you know, bigger body width wise.$$Okay.$$Yeah, width wise.$$Maybe just a optical thing--$$Correct.$$But, yeah, he looked a lot longer. He is made long, so he has longer arms and everything else--$$Um-hm.$$--so, yeah. So he just looked gigantic. I said, "Now, how in the world," (laughter). They're not even close to the same--they looked like they were close to the same size, you know, walking around, you know.$$Both great players.$$Yes, right.$$Both great players.$$And Gilmore was gone from the--he, he was--he was not playing with the Bulls anymore; he had just left, I guess, right (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) No, he was with--he was with the Spurs [San Antonio Spurs].$$Right, right.$$With the Spurs, yeah, I think it was--yeah.$$Okay. Now, now, do you get a chance--when you're, when you're playing an opposing team, do you get a chance to know the players on the other teams in the NBA? Do y'all ever eat together after the game, or do they--or do, do the (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) The game is so--you know--well, certain players on certain teams you probably know from, you know, the summer, or going on your NBA trips during the summer, you know, but--yeah. Yeah, but it's--you know, it's part of the professional sports. As far as embracing and hugging and figuratively kissing each players before games, you know, I never unders- you know, my objective was to, to beat you.$$Okay. Now, I always wondered--we, we see certain teams play, and the guys come out and they act like they're, they're greatest friends in the world, you know. I just wonder if they hang out after the game, or what, you know--how, how well the--your team knows the opposition, you know; that's what--$$Yeah, I, I (unclear) now--I didn't wanna warm our hearts up to my opponents too much. If I knew somebody on the opposing team I just--I say, "Hi," but just leave me alone, 'cause I gotta focus on what I gotta do for my team.