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Legendary Basketball Coach John Wooden: ‘I don’t believe there’s ever been a better person than my dad’

June 12th, 2010 by Glenn Sacks, MA for Fathers & Families

The late legendary college basketball coach John Wooden, (pictured coaching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and as a coach. His ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period while at UCLA are unmatched by any other college basketball coach.

Wooden speaks glowingly of his father in this interview. According to Wooden:

Dad would read to us in the evenings. He read the Bible every day and insisted that we did, and he’d read poetry to us.

Like Mark Twain, when I was young, I probably didn’t appreciate my father at all. But thinking back, some of the things he did became so meaningful. I didn’t realize at the time…I remember two sets of threes that he gave us. One was “Never lie, never cheat and never steal.” I’ve heard that since in different ways. The first time I heard it was from my Dad.

The other one I never heard from anyone else was “Don’t whine, don’t complain and don’t alibi.” He tried to get those ideas across, maybe not in so many words, but by action. He walked it, let me put it that way. He was a gentle man, but physically strong, I think, but was gentle. As Mr. Lincoln said, “There’s nothing stronger than gentleness.” I think perhaps my dad emanated that…

My father was a good person. I don’t believe there’s ever been a better person than my dad.

Read the full interview here.

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