UNLVRebels.com– Former UNLV Runnin’ Rebel Shawn Marion became the first player from the UNLV men’s basketball program to win a NBA Championship since 1972 as his Dallas Mavericks topped the Miami Heat, 105-95, at American Airlines Arena on Sunday night. The Mavs won the series in six games, winning the title for the first time in franchise history.
Marion, who started at forward in all of Dallas’ 21 games during the playoffs and scored 12 points in the NBA Finals-clinching win, became only the second Runnin’ Rebel player to win a NBA title (as a postseason roster member). John Trapp (played at UNLV in 1967-68) is the only other former Runnin’ Rebel player to win a NBA Championship as a member of a playoff roster, as he won with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1972.
Jackie Robinson (1973-78) won a ring with the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics after playing 12 regular season games and J.R. (Isaiah) Rider (1991-93) earned one with the 2001 Lakers after playing in 67 regular season games. Robinson and Rider were not on their respective team’s playoff rosters those years.
Marion played for the Runnin’ Rebels during the 1998-99 season (current UNLV head coach Dave Rice was an assistant coach on that team). Marion was the ninth overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns and just wrapped up his 14th year in the league with his fourth different team (also played with Miami and Toronto). He is a four-time NBA All-Star and has averaged 16.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game throughout his professional career.
Tim Grgurich, who was an assistant coach at UNLV from 1981-92, also earned his first NBA ring as he is currently a coach with the Mavs.
In addition to serving as assistant coach for the Runnin’ Rebels, Grgurich also was the program’s head coach for seven games of the 1994-95 season. He has served as assistant coach for several NBA teams including extended stays with Seattle, Portland and Denver.
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)