March 21, 2019

“The Wizard of Westwood” May You RIP

Forget the fact that John Wooden was voted the greatest coach in American Sports by Sporting News and forget all the NCAA records that he holds that will never be broken like 38 straight NCAA tournament victories, 88 straight game winning streak as well as 7 straight NCAA titles.  Forget the fact that he is the ONLY man to be inducted in the Hall of Fame as both player and coach. Take away all of the accolades that happened many years before so many men and boys this day were not even born yet, but please know the man for his accomplishments.

John R. Wooden has passed and seemed ready to do so many years ago to be with his beloved wife Nell who passed 25 years ago.  He continued to write a love letter to her every Sunday as he did when she was alive.  Wooden was not disliked by anyone because he was one of the greatest humanitarians of our time and spent his life teaching young men how to be a better person in life rather than just how to play a game.

I was greatly affected by this man as not only a UCLA Bruin fan, but as a fan of John Wooden’s life as a whole. He grew up on a farm in Indiana born just 9 years after Naismith’s peach basket, and became a 3 time All-American at Purdue.  He coached in high school before taking over at Indiana State and then ultimately at UCLA where he didn’t win his first championship until 16 years thereafter.  After that he could not be stopped. He once won a championship with the tallest player on the court at 6’5. His teams were so prepared mentally and physically that he would never adjust his schemes to match another team.

The Wizard’s contribution to everyone who came in contact with was extraordinary and real.  Once you had a conversation with him you knew you were not only ready to follow steps to be a better person, but you could not let down such royalty.  He will be missed not just because of his presence, but because he was too vital to mankind in this cynical world.

Rest In Peace John R. Wooden I know you are now in the place with Nell you are supposed to and want to be in.

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