Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. Notre Dame Coach Digger Phelps said, "I used this book as an inspiration for the biggest win of my career when we ended UCLA's all-time 88-game winning streak in 1974."

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. Click the Book to read the players telling their stories in their own words. This is the book that UCLA Athletic Director J.D. Morgan tried to ban.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information.

Talk To Me (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene (Don Cheadle) was an ex-con who became a wildly popular talk show host on Washington D.C. radio station WOL after his release from jail in the 1960s. In addition to the story of his rise and demise, this is a more interesting tale of two dissimilar men, Green and the man who gave him his opportunity, Dewey Hughes (Chiwetel Elijofor), bonding. The best film I’ve seen about two men and their relationship with one another was Becket (1964) with Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole. Unfortunately, although director Kasi Lemmons does a good job in keeping the pace going in this film that is about a half hour too long, this is too superficial to achieve those heights, even though the script was written by Dewey’s son, Michael Genet, along with Rick Famuyiwa. Even so, it does touch on the friendship and love that can arise between two dissimilar men.

In addition to a talented job directing, Lemmons gives a shining performance as the secretary of station manager E.G. Sonderling (Martin Sheen). I had a hard time tracking that down. Since I didn’t go to a screening, I didn’t receive a press kit and Lemmons’ role is uncredited. That might be the worst decision she made because the role requires her to be frustrated and befuddled by Greene’s bizarre behavior and she pulls it off with some wonderful facial expressions.

While all the buzz will be for Cheadle, Elijofor has quietly built a wonderful list of successful performances in small films, like Kinky Boots (2005) and Dirty Pretty Things (2002). If Cheadle is deserving for a Best Actor nomination, Elijofor should get one, too, for Best Supporting Actor.

But that’s not all. As good as Cheadle and Elijofor are, the person I enjoyed most on the screen was Petey’s girlfriend, Vernell (Taraji P. Henson). Cheadle is funny and poignant. Eiljofor is staunch. But Henson’s flamboyant performance dominates the screen in every scene in which she appears. My only disappointment was that she isn’t in more scenes. If she doesn’t get a Best Supporting Actress nomination, there is no justice in Hollywood (well, we know there’s no justice in Hollywood).

The first half of this film is a rollicking comedy, that turns dark when Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in 1968. The film shows Petey as a hero in keeping the violence in D.C. down, but it’s the beginning of a downward spiral that comes to a climax with his appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, arranged by Dewey.

I didn’t go to the screening for this. Rather, I chose to watch it on opening night at The Bridge in Culver City. My friend and I were about the only two white people in the audience, and the theater was at least 80% occupied. If white people don’t show much interest in this because they think it’s a film about blacks for blacks they are making a big mistake. This is a very entertaining film.

July 15, 2007