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: World Cup Soccer and Baby Dodgers 6 Jul 15

by Tony Medley

World Cup Soccer: My favorite Olympic sport was womenís softball. But the softball intellects at NBC usually televised it as a delay at 3 a.m., even though the U.S. generally won the gold medal. Then the Olympic Committee deleted it as an Olympic sport. They have prepubescent girls running around waving ribbons as an Olympic Sport but not softball?

I liked it for two reasons. First, these women really knew how to play the game. Second, they were doing it because they loved it. There was no money in it and, thanks to NBC, not much glory.

Thatís the same reason I enjoyed the U.S. womenís performance in the World Cup. They play the game because they love it. Thereís little or no money at the end of the rainbow.

Contrast this with the obscene amount of money paid to professional male athletes, especially NBA basketball players. Players signing contracts for $110 million for five years is offensive in the extreme. LeBron James, who makes $21.7 million a year (thatís just his basketball salary; it does not include endorsements) is opting out of his contract so he can make even more next year.  How much do these avaricious megalomaniacs need? Ira Gershwin said it best in the Ď30s:

Folks with plenty of plenty, they got a lock on the door;

Afraid somebodyís gonna rob Ďem while theyíre out a-makiní more.

What for?

Ira Gershwin, Porgy and Bess.

Thereís nothing wrong with playing sports for a living, but there must be a reasonable limit to how much these athletes need to be paid. In the end itís the spectator who pays.

Give me womenís softball and even womenís soccer (even though soccer is far too slow and low-scoring for my tastes) any day. They still play for the love of the game.

Baby Dodgers: Whenever a Dodgersí player is interviewed postgame on Sportsnet LA, he is subjected to another player throwing a barrel of Gatorade over his head and uniform, interrupting the interview and destroying the context. On July4, Clayton Kershaw was being interviewed from the dugout on national TV during the Dodgersí game with the Mets. During the interview he was being constantly bombarded by seeds and plastic dolls thrown by players off-screen. Finally, in the middle of the interview and the bombardment, Kershaw looked to his right and said to those tormenting him, ďIím trying to focus right now. Iím trying to do the best I can. Itís tough. In every interview they do in the dugout itís like this. Our team should be a little more mature than this, I think.Ē

These displays arenít just childishly immature; they are foolish and do a disservice not only to the player and his interviewer and to the viewers who want to hear what the player has to say, but to the game of baseball itself. Here is a chance for one of the gameís premier players to communicate with the sports nation as a whole, a PR windfall, and itís desecrated by junior high school antics by Dodgers benchwarmers. Itís not funny or playful; itís annoying and irritating. Dodgersí management should put an immediate end to it. In fact, all sports should put an end to the Gatorade bath, which started in 1984 when Chicago Bears defensive tackle Dan Hampton dumped it over Coach Mike Ditka after the Bears clinched the division title. Thirty one years is enough.

All Star Voting: Reminiscent of 1957 when Cincinnati fans stuffed the ballot boxes to elect 8 Reds to the starting All-Star team, Kansas City fans are doing the same thing and everyone outside of K.C. deplores it. There is an easy fix: limit ballots to fans who pay their way into the games and require that ballots be distributed and filled out and submitted at the ball parks. No voting by computer; the All-Star teams are chosen by paying customers. End of problem.

Mattingly Corner: Don Mattingly pulled Zack Greinke from the July 4 game against the Mets after seven innings, pitching a four-hitter with no walks, leading 4-0, because he had thrown exactly 100 pitches. Greinkeís four (!) replacements over the final two innings allowed five hits (one more than Greinke allowed in seven innings) and three runs, finally getting the Mets out in the 9th inning with the tying and leading runs on base. Not allowing obviously dominant starting pitchers to pitch complete games should be a felony.

 

top