Our opinion: Southside High honored basketball legend

Published 7:58 am Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Southside High School honored one of the greatest basketball players in Dallas County history last week.

The number 34 jersey of Rodney Stevens was retired by Southside before its rivalry contest against Dallas County on January 27.

Stevens, nicknamed ‘six-nine’ because he played like a power forward than a shooting guard, was known as a prolific scorer with unlimited range.  Stevens was a difficult matchup with any team the Panthers played.

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As a junior, Stevens led Southside to the Class 5A state basketball championship during the 1984-85 season. The next year, the Panthers came within a basket of repeating as state champions, falling in the state finals. Stevens was still named 5A state player of the year.

Stevens originally signed with Auburn in 1986, but never played for the Tigers. He played at Troy State University, but left to work at a sewing factory in Dallas County. He eventually played at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham

After a year at Lawson State, Stevens had scholarship offers to play at Southern Cal and UCLA, but chose to work at International Paper and take care of his family.

The only thing missing from the jersey retirement: Stevens wasn’t around to witness the celebration. He died December 5, 2018 and was buried at St. Paul Community Methodist Church in Selma.

We applaud Southside for honoring the legacy of Rodney Stevens.