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Jerry Tarkanian Supports Reggie Theus and Larry Johnson for UNLV Coaching Job

Lon Kruger left UNLV’s basketball program to take the head coaching job at Oklahoma last week, leaving the Rebels searching for a new head coach. Contrary to popular belief, the job is not available on craigslist, but rather one for which athletic director Jim Livengood is nailing down finalists. The two names most prominently mentioned in connection with the vacancy are Reggie Theus and Dave Rice. When reached by phone on Monday, former UNLV national championship coach Jerry Tarkanian told Larry Brown Sports he supports former players Theus and Larry Johnson for the job.

Coach Tarkanian told LBS he recommended Reggie Theus for several reasons, saying “He’s got a great personality and he can talk with anybody.” Tark added that Theus “has been a good head coach, and the people love him in Vegas.”

He also said he supported his former player Larry Johnson, who is considered the best UNLV player in the program’s history, for the job. Tark acknowledged that Johnson’s lack of head coaching experience hurts him in the search, but says he thinks Larry would do a great job because he’s such a good person. In an interview with LBS last month, Johnson told us he was interested in coaching.

Overall, Tarkanian said Lon Kruger did a real good job as head coach of the program.

No replacement has been named yet, but Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports a hire could be made this week. Ryan Greene says that Theus and Livengood talked Sunday night but that Rice is the favorite to get the job.

Photo Credit: Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Larry Johnson on Grand Ma Ma’s Sweet Tea, UNLV, Converse, Nike, and Coaching

Former UNLV All-American and NBA All-Star Larry Johnson was the inspiration for the famous Grand Ma Ma character Converse marketed. Starring in the commercials that promoted “React Juice,” Grand Ma Ma was easily one of the most successful sneaker campaigns the NBA has seen. Years after Johnson’s NBA career came to an end, the Grand Ma Ma character is still beloved by basketball fans. Larry has used it promote a new line of Sweet Teas his beverage company is producing. Folks on the East Coast can begin to look for Grand Ma Ma’s Southern Sweet Tea on the shelves, and before long the hope is to have it in stores across the country.

Larry Brown Sports was lucky enough to talk with the former UNLV, Hornets, and Knicks star and we covered a wide range of subjects including the National Championship Game against Duke, his association with Converse and how a slight from Nike began that relationship, his feelings on coaching, and much more.

Larry Brown Sports: Recently Paul Silas said that Michael Jordan could still score 20 points a game in the NBA, what about you, how’s your game?

LJ: No, I can’t get two rebounds or score any points now. I left it all on the court when I played, my back is so bad.

[Read more...]

Grandmama Sweet Tea by Larry Johnson Coming to a Store Near You

Many of us haven’t heard from Larry Johnson for a while — not the running back who can’t stay out of trouble — but the former basketball player. Johnson starred on UNLV’s 1990 title team, was selected first overall in the ’91 NBA draft, and along with Alonzo Mourning, made the Charlotte Hornets cool. We haven’t heard too much from Grandmama for a while, but Hoops Journal points out we will be hearing from him plenty in the coming months.

Hoops Journal shares the news that LJ has partnered with Hall of Fame Beverages, Inc on a new line of sweet teas. According to Hall of Fame Beverages, “This line of flavored teas is currently in development and will come in sweetened natural flavors reminiscent of the cool refreshment from hot summer afternoons sitting on the porch at Grandmama’s house.” Not that Arizona Iced Teas and Snapple needed any competition in the iced tea market, but I imagine I’m not alone in saying I will try it. Think about it: if I have a choice between a handful of drinks, I’m picking the one with Grandmama on the wrapper. Have you forgotten how amazing he was for Converse?

TV land is a much better place with Grandmama in it, so let’s hope some of his ads will be coming back.

UPDATE: Here’s what appears to be one of his new commercials

Grandmama Might Be Back in the NBA!

This is a very exciting day in the life of Larry Brown. That’s how excited I am — I’m pulling a Rickey. See, Grandmama played a large role in my childhood growing up. OK, that may be overstating things a bit, but Larry Johnson was quite a prominent figure while I was in elementary school. He was in all sorts of commercials representing Converse sneakers — like th one above, and he and Alonzo Mourning teamed up on a very exciting Hornets squad. Matter of fact, you got used to seeing Charlotte Hornets jerseys on playgrounds in LA. No joke. That’s how much pull Grandmama had back in the day. And that’s why I am overwhelmed with joy to hear that Grandmama might be back:

If there is such a thing as the “Curse of L.J.,” the Knicks may be doing something about it. According to sources, Johnson could be returning to the Knicks in a still-undefined role. In all likelihood, Johnson will be working for the Knicks part-time in their community relations department along with former teammate John Starks.

LJ had an injury settlement with the Knicks when his career ended in 2001 for $28 million. He’s not coming back for the money. But as you can tell, I am quite delighted to hear this rumor.