The passing of the great basketball coach John Wooden and the resulting torrent of memories by former players reminds me that Wooden was one of the most unique and wonderful men ever. His amazing successes at UCLA and record-setting Championship totals are amazing on their own. For the Bruins, Wooden was truly the “Wizard of Westwood.”
However, Wooden didn’t stop being a coach for any player once their eligibility ended. Wooden was a life coach. In time every wonderful player from Goodrich to Walton, from Kansan Lucius Allen to Jamaal Wilkes grew to know that. In Wooden’s 99 years here on earth, he synthesized his guides to life into some very profound thoughts. It was my pleasure to photograph UCLA and Wooden in the 1970 and 1972 Final Fours. It is an even greater pleasure to share some of Wooden’s thoughts here.
From John Wooden –
There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.
Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.
The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.
The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.
Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.
What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player.
Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.
Be quick, but don’t hurry.
You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.
You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.
Ability is a poor man’s wealth.
Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
Be prepared and be honest.
Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.
Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.
I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.
If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.
It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.
It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.
It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.
It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.
Never mistake activity for achievement.
Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters.