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Original Issue

Sidney Moncrief, Arkansas Swingman February 13, 1978

As a star at Hall High in Little Rock and the high-flying ace of
Arkansas's Final Four team of 1978, Sidney Moncrief became known
throughout the Ozark State as Sid the Whiz Kid and Sidney the
Incredible. His 11 years as an NBA guard--10 with the Milwaukee
Bucks--only enhanced his standing back home. The 6'3" Moncrief
was among the most complete players of his era: a smooth jump
shooter, an explosive dunker and a ferocious rebounder and
defender. His pro resume includes a career scoring average of
15.6 points, five All-Star appearances and back-to-back
defensive player of the year awards, in 1983 and '84. "If I had
to pat myself on the back, it would be for the consistent high
level of play," Moncrief says. "And the focus...and the
ability...and the talent...."

And the relentless--but ultimately fruitless--pursuit of a
title. After losing to Kentucky in the semifinals of the 1978
NCAA tournament, Moncrief and Arkansas fell to Larry Bird and
Indiana State in the '79 Midwest Regional final. The results
were no more satisfying in the NBA: The Bucks never made it to
the Finals, losing to the Philadelphia 76ers four times and to
the Bird-led Boston Celtics thrice in the Eastern Conference
playoffs. Moncrief is still taking a backseat to Bird. On Feb. 2
he was nominated to the Basketball Hall of Fame for the second
straight year, yet Bird, a first-time candidate, stole the
headlines. "He keeps popping up, doesn't he?" Moncrief says.

The owner of a car dealership in the Little Rock suburb of
Sherwood, Moncrief spends much of his time these days doing
community service. For his 40th birthday in September he held a
free basketball clinic at Central High, where 40 years earlier
federal troops had to be deployed to force the integration of
nine black students. With his wife, Debra, he has also
championed adoption awareness among African-Americans. The
Moncriefs have four boys (three adopted): Brett and Jon, both 9;
Jeffrey, 6; and Jason, 2. "As you grow older," Sidney says,
"your life must be summed up by more than what you did

Moncrief's good works and popularity earn him frequent mention
as a potential candidate for public office. An independent, he
campaigned for unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial candidate
Sheffield Nelson in 1990 and '94, but he says he tries to stay
away from politics these days. Would he ever throw his hat into
the ring? "Not right now," Moncrief says, "but I don't rule out
anything in life." Sounds just like a politician.

--Kelvin C. Bias

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY MANNY MILLAN [Cover of February 13, 1978 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED featuring Sidney Moncrief]


His good works and popularity earn him frequent mention as a
potential candidate for public office.