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.

Thumbnails January 2008

by Tony Medley

I Am Legend (10/10): This intense third remake of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel about the last man on earth has two stars. Will Smith appears in almost every scene and keeps the film moving. His co-star is New York City as it was shot on location, not in a studio using CGI. The City is wonderfully dressed by Production designer Naomi Shohan to look as it might if abandoned to nature for three years. Even though Smith is the only person onscreen for much of the 100 minutes, the pace never flags.

The Great Debaters (9/10): Blacks in the United States have a lot more to overcome than just the knowledge their ancestors four generations ago were slaves. Revered Founding Father Thomas Jefferson declared “the inherent inferiority of Blacks to Whites, because they are more unsavory and secrete more by the kidneys.” White people don’t have ignorant stigma like that in their background. This fictionalized film based on the real 1930s Wiley College debate team captures just a little of what blacks have to endure, highlighted by a terrific scene in which Forest Whitaker has to back down to a bunch of bigots in front of his son, Denzel Whitaker. There is so much more in this well-paced, brilliantly directed (Denzel Washington) and acted story that even though it is a film by blacks about blacks, it is a movie that should enthrall whites.

Juno (8/10): Forget the Oscar®-nominated mediocrity, Little Miss Sunshine, two better Indies last year were Thank You For Smoking and Hard Candy. Juno unites comedic genius Jason Reitman, who directed the former, with the up-and-coming star Ellen Page, who was the lead in the latter. The result is a poignant, modern romantic comedy with abundant profanity about a teenager and her unplanned pregnancy. Reitman and novice screenwriter-former stripper Diablo Cody create Juno as a Peanuts-like individual, a child in appearance only, but one who acts and thinks like a mature adult. The result is a fine comedy with a good moral. On the downside, it follows a Hollywood trend of minimizing the importance of a father in a baby’s life, which lowered my rating a skosh.

The Golden Compass (5/10): Despite all the controversy and hullabaloo, this is too incoherent and full of plot holes to lure impressionable children down some primrose path to the atheism of the book’s author, Philip Pullman. Sure, it’s a fantasy about a parallel universe where animals talk, witches fly, and all the children have their own daemons serving as a constant voice of reason, so it’s not my cup of tea. But, still, in order to be entertaining, the basic story should make sense and be cohesive. This has neither attribute. Worse, since this is the first of a trilogy, the film doesn’t end. To be honest, they should have added, “To be continued…” at the end, but they didn’t.

Charlie Wilson's War (1/10): This is so excruciating to sit through my old watch expired from looking at it too much. Even though it’s based on a true story of a profligate Texas Congressman who actually ended up doing something good, it is filled with shots of Julia Roberts putting on her makeup and of Tom Hanks (who speaks as if his mouth is full of mush and he doesn’t want to lose any) soaking in hot tubs and bath tubs. I can’t remember seeing a movie intended to deal with a serious subject that treats it with such little respect and so superficially. Nichols and screenwriter Alan Sorkin disgrace what Wilson did. There had to be a lot more to the story of getting this funding through committees than what we see here.When I heard the lines intended to be humorous, it brought to mind how sportswriter Red Smith responded when asked how he writes, "I open a vein," he sadly intoned. The lines produced by Sorkin seem to come straight from an artery, so labored are they.

Atonement (1/10): Any man who says he likes this 130-minute movie needs a double shot of testosterone. Starting out like a gothic tale it stretches out into just your every day, run of the mill The English Patient-paced ordeal for the viewing audience. The evacuation at Dunkirk took three days in 1940 and director Joe Wright apparently tried to film it in real time, making it so phantasmagorical and incoherent as to make one bilious. There’s a twist at the end that infuriated me. Even though there is a lot of good acting by Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan, and Romola Garai, I sat through all of this for that?