UNLV honors Jerry Tarkanian

LAS VEGAS -- UNLV honored the late Jerry Tarkanian with a pregame tribute and video Wednesday night that included scenes from the Runnin' Rebels' national championship in 1990.

Members of the Tarkanian family and several former players attended the event at the Thomas and Mack Center in honor of the former Rebels coach, who died last week at age 84.

The university brought out a chair from the 1990 Final Four and placed a folded towel on it, just as it would have been left for Tarkanian, who continually chewed on a damp towel during games. The chair remained on the sideline and unoccupied during UNLV's Mountain West Conference loss to Boise State.

"It was a very nice ceremony," season-ticket holder Gene Porter said. "Getting the Final Four chair from Denver and putting it out there was as classy a move as I've seen in a long time."

Before the game, fans were given commemorative white towels with the word "TARK" printed on them inside of a black circle with a shark fin in place of the "A". Tarkanian was popularly known as "Tark the Shark," and the arena was known as the "Shark Tank."

The five-minute tribute included references to Tarkanian's prolonged legal battles with the NCAA. It also showed his induction ceremony into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

After the game, the major Las Vegas Strip casino-hotels as well as a few off-Strip properties and local casinos dimmed their exteriors for three minutes starting at 10:30 p.m. PT.

The Luxor's heaven-sent beam of light appeared to be the first to go.

One by one, the Las Vegas Strip's casinos and downtown Las Vegas shut off their lights for a few minutes, leaving ghostly shapes of buildings from a distance.

It's a tribute that gained steam via a social media campaign and one the destination has made for only a few other people and on a few occasions.

A darkened Strip has honored the legacies of Las Vegas entertainers including, in order, Elvis Presley, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, George Burns and Frank Sinatra after their deaths, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.