Saturday Scorecard: Farewell to a champion
Welcome to Saturday Scorecard, dedicated to the greatest coach in history.
On to the notes:
Farewell to a champion: If you're under a certain age -- maybe 35 -- you may be wondering why the sports media is making such a big deal about former UCLA coach John Wooden, who died Friday at age 99.
It's simple, really.
Wooden was the greatest.
Pick an era. Pick a sport. Pick a name. Nobody can top what John Wooden did during nearly three decades on the Bruins' bench. And, nobody can top the impact that he had on the coaching profession.
Look beyond the fact that he made the Hall of Fame as both a player and coach (the first ever to achieve that). Forget the 664-162 all-time record (a staggering .804 winning percentage). Dismiss the fact that he guided his teams to 10 national championships in 12 years -- even though it's impossible to imagine a team doing that today.
Wooden is a giant, almost mythical figure. A gentleman. A World War II veteran. A guy who never made more than $35,000 as a coach (outside of camps and speaking engagements). A man who was married for 53 years, lost his wife in 1985 and still wrote her love letters every month.
His "Pyramid of Success" is practically the coaching bible. I wish that some of the coaches I see at little league and high school games would give it a glance or look at some of the other sayings that came to be known as "Woodenisms."
"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."
"Never mistake activity for achievement."
"Adversity is the state in which man mostly 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."
"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."
"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."
"A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment."
"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."
"Ability is a poor man's wealth."
"Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."
"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."
"It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it."
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."
"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."
"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."
"The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team."
"Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."
"Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It's courage that counts."
John Wooden was a giant. His death was not surprising. Given his deteriorating physical condition of late, it wasn't particularly sad. The tributes he has received have been appropriate. The hope here is that the lessons he imparted -- to his players and the world at large -- will never be forgotten.
LARRY KING LOUNGE
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