Wisdom From The Wizard
By Jill Painter
L.A. Daily News
'It's the things you learn after you know it all that count.'
HE'S 96 NOW, but legendary basketball coach John Wooden still holds
close the values passed on by his father when he graduated from grammar
In fact, tucked in his pocket is a copy of the seven-point
creed his dad gave him that day, planting the seed in a boy who became
known not only for his prowess on the court, but as a role model for
And now those sentiments about life - among them, "Don't
measure yourself by what you've accomplished, but what you should
accomplish with your abilities" - will grace a new line of
inspirational print products, from greeting cards to office supplies.
Wooden, who led UCLA to 10 national championships, is touched.
people agree that the greatest joy is to learn that something you've
said or done has been meaningful to others," Wooden said in a recent
"I'm happy they think something I've said or done has been meaningful to another."
been 32 years since Wooden coached a championship Bruins team, but his
message - one that has little to do with basketball and much to do with
life - is more popular than ever.
Wooden and Steve Jamison,
who's co-authored most of his books, are writing another children's
book after the popularity of "Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success."
Quotes, advice and his definition of success will decorate calendars
and to-do lists, and his maxims will embellish an elementary school
Wooden also has a contract with General Mills for the John Wooden Leadership Course.
there's the line of greeting cards being produced by Shade Tree
Greeting Co., of New York, which mounted successful lines carrying
inspirational thoughts from Ray Charles and Christopher Reeve.
Steve Hallowell, Shade Tree's vice president of sales and
marketing, got hooked on Wooden's literary work after reading an
Esquire magazine article that included some of the coach's quotes.
The only question was if others would be equally receptive. A focus group of 60 people provided the answer.
"Seventy-five percent of the people didn't know who he was at all," Hallowell said, "but they loved his thoughts."
cards are still in the development stage, with releases scheduled in
August and January. Conceivably, one could mail a Wooden card from the
U.S. post office in Reseda that was renamed in Wooden's honor last
"There's some very powerful learning that can be put into greeting cards," Hallowell said.
look at them as cards that can encourage, motivate and inspire a broad
group of people. Some are blank inside, so a person can add their own
ideas. On some, we put one of Coach's maxims on the front. Some, you
learn more about him through a story or more information.
"The response (through market research) is that people just loved it."
Wooden has long explained his teaching methods and motivational techniques through books and personal appearances.
can now enjoy his ideas through his Web site - www.coachjohnwooden.com
- which Jamison just updated, adding video interviews with a dapper
Wooden taped in the office of his Encino home.
And, of course, the Web site includes Wooden's famed
Pyramid of Success, an invention of 25 behaviors he believes help an
individual achieve competitive greatness.
John Russett, vice president of manufacturing for General
Mills, which hosts Wooden's leadership academies, says he's learned to
communicate better with his employees using the former coach's lessons.
"General Mills is constantly looking for different ways to
develop our organization's search for the gold standard in whatever
we're doing," Russett said. "Clearly, he's a gold standard for teaching
and coaching. His message can cut across so many different levels. We
believe everyone is a leader and can benefit from his teachings."
Basketball great Bill Walton, the star of Wooden's
championship teams in 1972 and 1973, never paid much attention to
Wooden's maxims while playing for the Bruins, but he lives by them now.
Two of Wooden's better-known adages hang on the wall of
Walton's home office in San Diego: "Everything you know and learned is
from someone else," and "Most of what we learn is what not to do. It's
the things you learn after you know it all that count."
"The thing about John Wooden, he's like a great rock 'n'
roll song by (Bob) Dylan or (Jerry) Garcia or Neil Young or Crosby,
Stills & Nash or Carlos Santana," Walton said. "They're timeless,
even though the words are the same and the music is the same. Every day
your situation and experience in life gives you a different
relationship to that song, that person."
Walton talks with Wooden by phone every day and frequently
visits his mentor. And while he went on to a 13-year NBA career and is
now a courtside analyst for ESPN, Walton's favorite memories include
his former coach.
"There aren't enough adjectives in the dictionary to
describe the joy, the happiness, the positive upbeat nature and the
sense of hope that anybody who has been touched by John Wooden or UCLA
has. You can't adequately convey how perfect, how special it was.
"I don't think any of us had any idea what Coach Wooden meant to us while we played for him."
the Bruins players and their fans were familiar with the coach's
teachings, it wasn't until the publication of "Wooden" a decade ago
that the franchise really took off.
"The book came at a time when it put Coach back in front of
people again," Jamison said. "It brought him back to the public in a
way that didn't just talk about 10 national championships ... All of a
sudden, people went, `Holy cow! What a great person.' They looked at
John Wooden again."
Most of Wooden's keys to success come from philosophies
instilled by his father. He has a seven-point creed - where the popular
phrase "make each day your masterpiece" came from - which his father
gave him. He still keeps a copy in his pocket and has copies to give to
friends, family and fans.
"A lot of it comes into play about the origin of how my
definition of success came about," Wooden said. "It came from my father
Joshua, who said never try to be better than somebody else.
"Never cease trying to be the best you can be, whether it's you or me or someone else."
[reprinted with permission]
Labels: Coach John Wooden