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Summer 2000
Coach!
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Then he did a remarkable thing. Just past noon, a photographer arrived to take a portrait. The photographer told Coach Wooden that he would set up a small studio outside and be ready to shoot in half an hour. I looked at my watch. It was 12:12. The photographer left and Coach Wooden and I continued talking. Then, without so much as a glance at his watch or a clock, Coach stood up and said: "It's time to meet the photographer." I looked at my watch; it was 12:42, 30 minutes on the nose.

It was at that moment that I came to understand how, in his 27 years as the Wizard of Westwood, John Wooden had led UCLA to a phenomenal NCAA record-setting 88 straight wins and 10 national titles in 12 seasons. Yes, great athletes came to Westwood to play for him-Walt Hazzard '78, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar '69 (then known as Lew Alcindor), Sidney Wicks '71, Bill Walton '74, Marques Johnson '77, to name just a few-but that was not the whole story. Sure, there was his well-known Pyramid of Success. But there was more to it than that. Year after year, I suddenly understood, he had taken young, talented men and blended them into teams that could, on the court, control time and space.

We walked outside to meet the photographer. It could've been his millionth photo shoot, but Coach was as cheery as if it were the first. Afterward, we came back inside and talked some more. I asked him how I could help my children get the best out of themselves. When I returned home, I imparted his wisdom to my kids. Three months later, my 5-year-old son would be reminding his little sister: "Be quick, but don't hurry."

That's what I'd come for.

When I left Coach Wooden at the end of the day, I knew a lot more about life and my place in it than I did the day before. In fact, I walked away wondering what might have become of my life had John Wooden been my mentor when I was coming up.

Here, then, in no particular order, are words of life and wisdom straight from the mouth of Coach John Wooden. Feel free to pass them on.

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