Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court

Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court

by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court

Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court

by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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Overview

Former NBA star and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explores his 50-year friendship with Coach John Wooden, one of the most enduring and meaningful relationships in sports history.

When future NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was still an 18-year-old high school basketball prospect from New York City named Lew Alcindor, he accepted a scholarship from UCLA largely on the strength of Coach John Wooden's reputation as a winner. It turned out to be the right choice, as Alcindor and his teammates won an unprecedented three NCAA championship titles. But it also marked the beginning of one of the most extraordinary and enduring friendships in the history of sports. In Coach Wooden and Me, Abdul-Jabbar reveals the inspirational story of how his bond with John Wooden evolved from a history-making coach-player mentorship into a deep and genuine friendship that transcended sports, shaped the course of both men's lives, and lasted for half a century.

Coach Wooden and Me is a stirring tribute to the subtle but profound influence that Wooden had on Kareem as a player, and then as a person, as they began to share their cultural, religious, and family values while facing some of life's biggest obstacles. From his first day of practice, when the players were taught the importance of putting on their athletic socks properly; to gradually absorbing the sublime wisdom of Coach Wooden's now famous "Pyramid of Success"; to learning to cope with the ugly racism that confronted black athletes during the turbulent Civil Rights era as well as losing loved ones, Abdul-Jabbar fondly recalls how Coach Wooden's fatherly guidance not only paved the way for his unmatched professional success but also made possible a lifetime of personal fulfillment.

Full of intimate, never-before-published details and delivered with the warmth and erudition of a grateful student who has learned his lessons well, Coach Wooden and Me is at once a celebration of the unique philosophical outlook of college basketball's most storied coach and a moving testament to the all-conquering power of friendship.

Instant New York Times and USA Today Bestseller
President Barack Obama's Favorite Book of 2017
A Boston Globe and Huffington Post Best Book of 2017 Pick

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455542260
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 05/08/2018
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 185,874
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

About The Author
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA's all-time leading scorer and a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. Since retiring, he has been an actor, a basketball coach, and the author of many New York Times bestsellers. Abdul-Jabbar is also a columnist for many news outlets, such as the Guardian and the Hollywood Reporter, writing on a wide range of subjects including race, politics, age, and pop culture. In 2012, he was selected as a U.S. Cultural Ambassador and in 2016 Abdul-Jabbar was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award which recognizes exceptional meritorious service. He lives in Southern California.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Why It Took Fifty Years to Write This Book 1

1 When Worlds Collide: Midwestern Hick Meets Harlem Hoopster 11

2 The Game Is Afoot: It's Never about Winning and Other Courtside Lessons 67

3 Color Bind: The Unbearable Darkness of Being Black 121

4 What Would Wooden Do: Religion, Politics, and Keeping the Faith 165

5 We've Got Trouble, Right Here in Pauley Pavilion: Getting Lost on Wooden Way 203

6 "Time Can Bend Your Knees": The Hours of Friendship in the Days of Grief 245

7 Our Long Day's Journey into Night 275

Acknowledgments 305

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