We end the night with some sad news. John Wooden has passed away in LA at the age of 99. This is a college basketball blog and I dont have to recount his tremendous basketball success for Kentucky fans. But more importantly, John Wooden was a giant of a man as well. I have never heard anyone say a negative word about the man and the list of those who adore him spans the college basketball world. Coach Calipari was a friend to Wooden, but the same could be said about virtually anyone that is in the game. I was on the Joe B and Denny show today and Joe B talked about his love for Wooden, while an hour later John Wall sent out a tweet about how he was praying for the man as well. The respect he received crossed generations and was universal. Over the coming days, his life will be rightly celebrated and his memorial service (when it happens) will be a who’s who of the game.
I met Wooden just once, in Louisville at the McDonalds All American game. I saw him as he was greeting players and fans on the front row of Freedom Hall and went to shake his hand. He was amazingly gracious and when I asked for a picture, the guy dressed as Ronald Mcdonald walked up. Next thing I know, I have my picture taken with Wooden and Ronald McDonald. It is one of the strangest pictures ever, but Wooden had a huge smile on his face while taking it. As I thanked him and walked away, he said, “good luck son…and tell the clown good luck too.”
Our prayers are with his family and the many who loved him.