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Monday, June 3, 2013


Here is a lesson about learning. Back in the late '60s, when he was in the midst of winning those seven straight titles and had little reason to question himself about anything, John Wooden attended a press conference at which the Los Angeles Lakers announced that they had traded for Wilt Chamberlain. A reporter asked Wilt about his reputation for being hard to handle. Would the Laker coach have problems handling him? "I am not a thing," Chamberlain said. "You handle things. You work with people."

Upon returning home that day, Wooden opened a copy of Practical Modern Basketball. He turned to the section titled "Handling Your Players," crossed out "Handling" and wrote in "Working With." He phoned his publisher and asked that the change be made in all subsequent printings.

"John was a better coach at 55 than he was at 50," says Pete Newell, the former coach at Cal and San Francisco, who has known Wooden for more than 40 years. "He was a better coach at 60 than at 55. He's a true example of a man who learned from day one to day last."

From an article written by Alexander Wolff for Sports Illustrated (April 03, 1989)