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A Rebel With a Business Cause?

April 23, 1991|From Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — While Greg Anthony was helping Nevada Las Vegas win the NCAA basketball title in 1990, he also was pushing teammates to promote T-shirts manufactured by a company he had an interest in, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The newspaper quoted an unidentified UNLV player as saying that Anthony brought the T-shirts into the locker room before the Runnin' Rebels beat Duke to win last season's national title and told players to wear them in celebrations immediately after the game. Several players wore the shirts after the game, while others put on T-shirts made by a company that had a licensing agreement with the university.

The paper also quoted UNLV officials as saying conflicts with Anthony's company, Progressive Images, and the university and its official T-shirt supplier caused problems as the Rebels approached the Final Four again this year, losing to Duke in the semifinals.

The paper quoted a local retailer, who asked not to be identified, as saying that salesmen for Progressive Images claimed they would make available the shirt the players wore shortly after winning what they hoped would be a second consecutive national title, despite the fact that another company had been contracted to produce a shirt in conjunction with UNLV.

The same retailer said the salesmen for Progressive Images referred to their company as Anthony's, despite Anthony's renouncement of his ties early in the season--after the NCAA ruled he could not use his status to promote the company.

"It was really getting to be a big mess," said Jim Carr, who is in charge of licensing merchandise for the university.

Anthony renounced his interest in Progressive Images in mid-winter after the NCAA ruling, but rejoined it this month along with teammate Stacey Augmon.

Anthony angrily denied he was involved with Progressive Images during the latter part of the season, and accused the UNLV athletic department of spreading rumors that there was a shouting match before the game against Duke and that his business dealings tore the team apart.

Anthony and three other Rebels renounced their scholarships after the season ended so they could receive profits from Final Four Inc., a company that Anthony started to sell lithographs featuring the players' faces in a Mount Rushmore setting.

Company officials said that the players were kept unaware of the business plans until after the season to make sure their eligibility was not jeopardized, but All-American Larry Johnson said the players had talked about doing lithographs toward the end of the season.

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