They were the most exciting show in 1980's college basketball. The University of Houston's "Phi Slama Jama" team entertained hoops fans across the country with an explosive style of play and high flying dunks. But now a veteran police officer has been suspended for allegedly beating a key member of that squad.
Future Hall of Fame and NBA Top 50 players Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon were the headliners on those famous Houston teams, but Michael Young, a.k.a. "Silent Assassin," was actually the leading scorer in the group's run to the NCAA Final Four from 1982 to 1984.
The Houston Chronicle reports Brenton Green, a senior officer and 15-year veteran with the Houston Police Department was placed on a 20-day suspension for striking the former Phi Slama Jama star in the head with a nightstick.
Young, now director of basketball operations at the University of Houston, was taking his son to buy "Air Jordan Retro" sneakers on the first day they went on sale in December. As he stood at the door, attempting to help his son out of the jam-packed sneaker store, Green hit Young from behind with a nightstick, according to Young's attorney, Reginald McKamie. In addition to causing a concussion, the officer also cursed and threatened to kill the former basketball star.
"If Michael Young had reacted and attacked (the officer) for hitting him the back of the head, Michael Young would be facing 20 years in prison, and here this fellow gets 20 days off," McKamie said. "You know, he's got a license to kill people, a license to harm people, and Michael is saying, 'Hey, you've got to stop it somewhere.' "
Young immediately went to the emergency room, and later that day he filed a formal complaint with the Houston Police Department's Internal Affairs Division. He also filed a federal lawsuit against Green and the city of Houston, claiming his civil rights were violated when he was assaulted for no reason.
The lawsuit claims Green has "a history of citizen abuse." He was also sued by a man he shot and wounded during a traffic stop in February. 2010.
The City of Houston responded that the officers were justified.
Young led Phi Slama Jama in scoring, averaging 17.3 points per game and helping the Cougars advance to the 1983 national championship game for the first time in school history. They ended up losing to coach Jim Valvano's NC State Wolfpack. Young was selected by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 1984 NBA Draft. While never appearing in a game for Boston, he did play 49 games in the NBA for the Suns, Sixers and Clippers over parts of three seasons. Young played overseas in the Philippines, Spain, Italy, France and Israel, helping win the 1993 Euro Club Championship.
Young and his wife, Tina, have five children: Michael Jr., Joseph, who plays at the University of Houston, Mayorca, Jacob and Milan.