I’m afraid we’re about to soon see the passing of someone who to merely call him the greatest basketball coach of all time is almost to damn him with faint praise. I’m not a fan of UCLA basketball, but you don’t have to be to be Wooden’s fan. He is a man whose impact in America will far transcend sport, and indeed his own time.
Yeah - I thought of starting this thread up as well. The man is 99 years old, and he’s still fascinating to listen to. He did quite a few radio interviews here in Indy over the last year or so, and his stories are amazing. Good luck, Coach.
I just heard this too, and it’s a blow even though it had to happen eventually. I grew up around Westwood and started going to basketball games when John Wooden was the coach. I attended his basketball camp one year, and have met him several times. He is so completely engaging to talk to … somehow tough and gentle simultaneously, brilliant, humorous, kind, and always completely tuned into what I was saying. In short, the epitome of a coach.
I’m on your side as far as telling the whole story about the UCLA dynasty of John Wooden. But I will point out after Wooden retired, UCLA became a pretty good team unable to replicate what Wooden had done.
A sincere question, in what way has he impacted America beyond sport? I’m not a college basketball fan but I’ve aware of Wooden, though mostly from annual Bill Walton slobber-jobs on Wooden’s birthday.
I in no way contest he was a good person. I’m just curious what his impact is beyond sport.
While some of that may be true, if you read any of Greg Doyel’s stuff, he’s pretty much an inflammatory asshole. He used to be a radio personality here in Cincinnati with a guy named Mo Egger and they were the “Two Angry Guys” on sports talk radio before Doyel got shitcanned.
I’m not familiar with Doyel’s past work so I’ll take your word for it, which doesn’t change the fact that “St. John”'s players were on Sam Gilbert’s payroll. Here’s an article from Time in 1974: Link
How about Sean Cunningham of Esquire magazine earlier this year: Link and Dan Wetzel of Yahoo sports, who quotes Bill Walton about all the freebies he got from Gilbert while at UCLA? Link. Poisoning the well about Doyel still leaves a lot of room from Gilbert paying off Wooden’s players.
Yeah…the thing that surprised me was in your initial post, you said “a recent blog” by Greg Doyel, and I took that to mean that Doyel had written that stuff after Wooden had died…upon review, that blog entry was from May 2009, so I don’t feel the same level of outrage…