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. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their stories in their own words.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.

Sports Medley: Wimbledon Notes 13 Jul 15

by Tony Medley

Tennis Celebrations: Back in the day, tennis winners celebrated victory by jumping over the net to shake hands with the vanquished. Sometime around 1980, Bjorn Borg was apparently told by some PR person that he needed to do something different than calmly walk to the net to shake hands so that it would look good when replayed, so he sunk to the ground. Ever since, it’s become de rigueur for a tennis winner of a big match to sink to the ground after a victory.

There is nothing normal about this, so it looks feigned, which is exactly what it is, phony theatrics. Better to emulate former Detroit Lion running back Barry Sanders. When he scored a touchdown there were no dances or dunks over the crossbars. He just handed the ball to the ref and jogged off the field as if there were nothing unusual about him scoring a touchdown. Tennis players should take heed and stop falling to the ground in celebration as if they had just experienced  their first orgasm. When Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer on Sunday, he showed his respect for Federer by just walking to the net to shake hands. I hope this augurs well for the future.

ESPN’s Tennis Coverage: ESPN’s coverage of Wimbledon is marred by the audio. The crowd noise is so amplified that it drowns out the commentators, making it almost impossible to hear what they are saying. With most tennis commentators, that’s no big loss, but listening to John McEnroe is often better than watching  the match. ESPN needs to lower the volume of the crowd noise so that it is background to the commentators, which seems to me to be just basic common sense. Apparently nobody at ESPN watches their events or they would be aware of this problem.

Worse, ESPN insists on covering each point from the high camera. The low camera gives a much truer aspect of the ball clearing the net and the speed of the game. It’s like baseball which shows each pitch from the low centerfield camera than the high camera behind the plate (which was the original play by play camera in the ‘50s). The low camera puts the viewer in the tennis match.

ESPN cut from the Jo-Wilfried Tsonga- Ivo Karlovich match, with Tsonga down 2 sets to1 and leading 6-5 in the 4th set, to show an interview with Roger Federer. The interview could have been recorded and shown later. No TV network should cut from live action for an interview. ESPN finally returned to pick up the match at 6-6, 5-5 in the tiebreaker, with commentator Brad Gilbert gushing, “What a great passing shot!,” which we didn’t see. Is it really more important to ESPN to show an interview than to show a close, exciting match live? Does ESPN view its primary job at Wimbledon or any other sporting event as televising an event or a staged interview? This is deplorable judgment.

Yet Another Bad Rule That Needs to be Changed: Tennis has a bad rule which worked to John Isner’s disadvantage twice in the second to last game of his marathon match with Marin Cilic. Twice on Cilic’s serve, with Isner up a point in the pivotal game, Isner had an advantage on the point due to Cilic having hit a fault on his first serve so Isner got to receive a second serve. Both times one of Isner’s shots was called out. When Isner appealed both calls, both were reversed when the replays showed that they had landed in. So both points were replayed. However, Cilic was given a first serve both times, to Isner’s disadvantage, and Cilic won both replayed points and went on to win the match in the next game. If a point is replayed and the server was on his second serve, it should be replayed with a second serve, not giving the server a first serve as the rule presently prescribes.

Is the nickname “Redskins” degrading? The rumor is that Keith Olbermann’s contract with ESPN will not be renewed, presumably because he has come down hard on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. ESPN makes a lot of money televising Goodell’s games and Roger the Dodger can’t be happy with what Olbermann has to say. I actually agree with most of Olbermann’s opinions on sports.

But on one he’s dead wrong. He castigates Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder for not changing his team’s nickname from “Redskins” to something Olbermann and his friends think more politically correct because, according to Olbermann and the Democrat party, the term “Redskins” denigrates those who have come to be called Native Americans by the MSM (my question for them is that I was born here; if I’m not a “native American,” what am I?).

I am one who thinks that the name “Redskins” is laudatory. You don’t name a team “skunks” or “Nazis.” You don’t name your team something that is a term of opprobrium. You name it something of esteem, honor, and pride, which is what George Marshall did when he founded the team in Boston in 1932. The team played at Braves Field (home of the National League Boston Braves) and its first coach was William “Lone Star” Dietz, who was part Sioux. According to a 2013 AP (not a conservative operation) article, in the only recent poll to ask "Native Americans” about the subject, 90 percent of respondents did not consider the term offensive. This dispute is a phony political leitmotif, and it is much ado about nothing.

Doesn’t Anybody Here Know Anything About This Game?: The Los Angeles Times’ favorite Dodger, Joc Pederson (.230, leading the league in strikeouts with 107, en route to an all-time record), was named to the All Star Team. Justin Turner (.309, the division-leading Dodgers’ leading hitter) wasn’t.