Posted by: Kingsguru21 | June 4, 2010

“John Wooden’s so square he’s divisible by four” John Wooden dies at 99

Obviously not Kings related, but, by the same token, a major death nonetheless. Plenty of highlight reel material out there with relation to Wooden.

For those not old enough to recognize how important Wooden was to basketball, simply put, he was better than Dean Smith, John Thompson, Bobby Knight rolled up together. Wooden was just that amazing as a basketball coach. It’s easy to remember Wooden as a guy who won 10 championships in 12 seasons (from 1964-1975).

Here is one column on Wooden’s death by William Nack. Another from ESPN news services. Pat Forde’s column on this. Woodenism’s.

It is easy to remember that Wooden also played at Purdue as a Guard in his time. (Early 30’s. Won a championship in 1932 with the Boilermakers even. Simply put, he was a star.) Without John Wooden, and his amazing UCLA program, I’m not sure the basketball in the Pac-10 ever takes off. In fact, without Wooden, UCLA isn’t a powerhouse basketball program. It would be USC with a worse football team. And, that, what made Wooden so powerful. That after years and years and years of not coaching (he retired in 1975–4 years before I was even born!) he is still respected as one of the truly great minds to come across basketball. Even if you don’t remember his feats as the Head Coach of the UCLA Bruin program, or remember the many NBA legends who graced the court, remember that it started with Wooden. But you know what’s amazing? For all the great coaches (And Thompson, Knight & Smith were all amazing truly once in a lifetime coaches) that have graced the NBA and NCAA at some point, noone will ever match Wooden’s presence. A big part of that I suspect was Wooden’s attitude; not his basketball genius.

Yes, I totally ripped off Jim Murray with that quote. (Especially since I read it for the first time today.) Figured it was pretty fitting.

RIP Wizard.

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Responses

  1. “All hail the hills of Westwood, with ocean breeze so fair…”

    “All hail the hills of Westwood,to UCLA so dear”…

    Quaint?Yes. But still remembered many years after graduation. Simply put, that’s the official alma mater song; sung before games at pauley Pavillion.

    Playing in the pep band. looking up at the banners of the dynasty:those 10 championships hanging from the rafters. The pride one felt being part of the program; even in the pep band.

    & coach Wooden…our ‘coachie’….watching the talent from the sidelines; the Reggie Millers the would be all-stars, the Jordan farmers still to be drafted; big Red in those goofy shirts…..The ‘Woodenisms’ that had everything to do with the wisdom of life, and sometimes nothing at all about basketball….

    Sigh. A lump in my throat for our coach Wooden.

    Obviously no-one can live forever. but in my tears tonight; I wish he could have.

    • As an UCLA alum, I know he meant something to you even though he didn’t coach during your time in school.

      But let’s be honest: Wooden has impacted the game far beyond the years he spent roaming the sidelines. That is what is so amazing.


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