Marques Johnson Shares Inside John Wooden Stories, the Clarence Walker Story

Saturday marked a year since legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden died at the age of 99. As a tribute to Wooden, the UCLA Black Alumni Association showed a short film called The Wooden Effect at their scholarship fundraising event Saturday. LBS spoke with former Bruin Marques Johnson, whose company Point Forward Productions made the film, and he related some great stories.

Johnson told LBS he regrets that he only got to play two seasons under Wooden before the coach stepped away from basketball. He shared some insight about Wooden’s interactions with Negro League baseball players. Then at the three minute mark, Johnson talks about the famous Clarence Walker civil rights story. If you’ve never heard of the story, make sure you watch to learn about it:

Editor’s note: At the end of the interview, we asked Marques Johnson how he thinks the North Carolina transfers will fit in for UCLA this season. The Wear twins are eligible to play this season but Larry Drew must sit out because of transfer rules.

Johnson thinks that with the state of the Pac-12, UCLA should be one of the top two teams in the Conference.

Jeopardy Contestants Don’t Know John Wooden

Category: College Baskeball Coaches. Answer: John Wooden (1949-1975).

Question: Who are a bunch of dummies that haven’t picked up a Los Angeles Times within the last month? The clowns below:

Even if you’re not a sports fan I figure you heard about John Wooden dying earlier this month. These people don’t even belong on Jeopardy. At least Wooden got more respect from the game show than Bill Belichick. Thanks to Jeff Eisenberg at The Dagger for the video.

Jeopardy-fail: John Wooden question stumps contestants [The Dagger]
Video Credit: YouTube user mdwivedi

Wooden’s Life Lessons Will Live on

Three years ago during this site’s infancy, the announcement was made that UCLA would be renovating Pauley Pavilion with the intention of having it ready for the 2010 season. The goal was to dedicate the restoration of Pauley to Coach John Wooden on October 14th, 2010 — the day he would turn 100 years old. Unfortunately Wooden died on Friday evening, June 4th, four months prior to his 100th birthday. Though we’re saddened that Wooden died, the lessons he taught, the messages he delivered, the way he lived his life, and everything positive for which he stood still lives on.

At a time when people are concerned with being the star of the show, the center of attention, and building their own brands, Wooden preached teamwork, cooperation and togetherness. He famously said that “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.” Can you imagine Hanley Ramirez hearing this from Wooden the day after he loafed to a ball in left field and rationalized it by saying the other guys on the team can’t play as well as he can?

In a 12-year span, Wooden’s teams won 10 national championships and often played at their highest possible level, winning 88 straight games at one point. No matter how good your team is, winning when you have a target on your back and you’re taking everyone’s best shot is never easy. When you win 88 straight games and seven straight national titles, you’re not having off days and unfocused moments. Maybe his teams did not have those let downs because Wooden believed that “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” Wooden, his players, and his teams, didn’t just settle for beating opponents or winning conference titles — they wanted to be as good as they were capable of being.

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John Wooden Has Not Died But He is in the Hospital

Reports are surfacing that John Wooden, the most successful men’s college basketball coach of all-time, has been hospitalized and is “gravely” ill.  According to a report by CBS 2 in Los Angeles, Wooden “hasn’t eaten in the last couple days and is very ill.”  Some of the postings on Scout.com’s Bruin Report Online forum seemed to suggest that the former UCLA coach had passed away, but UCLA’s Athletic Department says that any reports of him having died are false.

While Wooden appears to be ill and in the hospital, rumors that he has died are inaccurate. Wooden is 99 years old.

UPDATE: The Washington Post is the latest organization to be incorrect with their reporting:

John Wooden In Hospital At UCLA Medical Center [CBS 2 Los Angeles]

Better Hope he makes it to 100

Now this is a topic I had always thought about when I was a student at the wonderful campus of UCLA – why isn’t the football field on-site, and why is Pauley Pavilion so out-dated (and not named after John Wooden). They sort of fixed the latter issue by naming the court “Nell and John Wooden,” but the name of the building still remained Pauley Pavilion. Well, I just received a press release from the Bruins athletics department, and I’m proud to announce that

photo courtesy csus

UCLA has moved the Pauley Pavilion renovation process forward and selected an architectural firm to prepare preliminary renovation and expansion designs for the historic structure, a campus landmark for more than 40 years and the home court of 38 NCAA championship teams. The goal is to dedicate the restored Pauley Pavilion on October 14, 2010, to honor Coach John Wooden on his 100th birthday.

And Wooden thought there was pressure in defending a national championship and lengthy unbeaten streaks? They better get a move on things. And it looks like the campus is moving in the direction of the 21st century

Among the many enhancements being considered are a new retractable seating system to bring spectators closer to the court, and new concession areas, restrooms and modern arena technology to enhance fan experience; new and expanded locker rooms, medical treatment and media rooms and dedicated practice facilities; a main lobby that would serve as a central entrance and celebrate UCLA’s illustrious athletic tradition, and redevelopment of the area between Spaulding Field and the arena.

I guess that’s what you get when your new (and brilliant) coach, Ben Howland, revives the program to a national powerhouse level.

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