A few days ago I was watching a report on Kobe Bryant’s film study. He was sharing how he watches many of the past greats in order to learn from them (and admittedly “steal” their moves.) Kobe was giving great honor to the likes of Oscar Robertson, Julius Erving, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan. It was a great tribute to these former players.
I can imagine how special those guys must have felt while watching that interview; to know they had a part in developing a player that many consider to be the best in the game today – to have left behind a legacy of great play.
Yet as impressive as that was, it paled in comparison to the legacy that is being talked about in the news the last couple of days – the legacy of John Wooden. Here is a guy that engineered the greatest college basketball dynasty ever (10 championships in 12 years) yet that is just a side note in the articles being written about Coach Wooden since his death a few days ago at the age of 99.
Over and over those that were touched by Coach Wooden have talked about how much he taught them about life. Each report mentions John Wooden the teacher. His players talk about what an honor it was to be his student. I even noticed the second generation affects of the coach. As Bill Walton (former UCLA player) paid homage to the coach in a pre-game ceremony, the cameras moved to Luke Walton (Bill’s son and a Los Angles Laker) as he wiped away tears. Throughout Luke’s life his dad would write down maxims from Coach Wooden and include them with his son’s lunches.
Coach Wooden often talked of the importance of character and responsibility. He talked of the importance of education and drinking from a good book, especially the Bible.
In all of his greatness as a basketball coach, he never made over $35,000 a year from the game of basketball. He even worked a second job as he started at UCLA just to get by. He used the game as a platform for teaching much more important things. (That is precisely why I am a Sports-Missionary.)
What about you? What type of legacy are you building? Are you leaving a wake behind you that makes a difference in other’s lives?
1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
Loving favor rather than silver and gold.