Tag Archives: UCLA

Sports: Arthur Ashe


Arthur Ashe won the NCAA Singles Title, the U.S. Amateur Championship, the U.S. Open, the Australian Open, and Wimbledon. But we remember the man, not just the athlete. Uploaded by teamtalk.com.

Richmond, Virginia’s Arthur Ashe knew the highest highs and the lowest lows in his too-brief lifetime. He won three of Grand Slam events of tennis – the U.S. Open (1968), the Australian Open (1970), and Wimbledon (1975). And yet he had serious heart problems that required multiple surgeries, during one of which he contracted HIV from a blood transfusion. He died at age 49.

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Ashe showed talent early at a sport that was all but closed to African-Americans. He had to move to St. Louis to find a place where he could play tennis without bias, and went all the way across the continent to UCLA for college. In 1968 he became the only person to win both the U.S. Amateur Championship and the U.S. Open in the same year. But in 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack and underwent a quadruple bypass. More heart problems required more surgery in 1983. A few years later he fell ill, and learned that he had HIV.

Ashe took an active role in the civil rights field, visiting South Africa and being arrested in the U.S. outside the South African embassy at an anti-apartheid rally. His leadership in all areas of his life didn’t go unappreciated. The main stadium at the home of the U.S. Open is now Arthur Ashe Stadium, ESPN gives a special ESPY award named the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, and President Clinton honored his memory with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Sports: John Wooden

With all his undefeated seasons, record winning streaks, and NCAA titles, John Wooden is most proud of his 19 conference championships. Uploaded by justiceleagueunlimited.wordpress.com.

Under coach John Wooden, UCLA won seven consecutive NCAA men’s basketball championships, and ten in the twelve years between 1964 and 1975. It could easily be argued that what John Wooden accomplished as head coach of UCLA basketball has never been equaled in the history of sports. There are other teams in minor sports that have won more championships, but not against such a high level of competition.

Initially, John Wooden didn’t even want to coach at UCLA. He was waiting to hear from Minnesota, but bad weather prevented a call with an offer from getting through. Wooden misunderstood, and thought the Gophers had lost interest. So when UCLA did call, he somewhat reluctantly accepted their offer. Strange to think that if cell phones were in use at the time, John Wooden may have made Minnesota the greatest basketball program of the era.

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Of course, any coach will tell you that he couldn’t win without great players, and Wooden recruited many of the best. Among those who led the Bruins to NCAA titles were Walt Hazzard, Gail Goodrich, Kareem Abudl-Jabbar, Sidney Wicks, Bill Walton, and Dave Meyers.

Many honors have come Coach Wooden’s way. To name just a few: He’s one of only a few individuals who’ve been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. Since 1977, the national player of the year trophy has been designated the John R. Wooden Award. And in 2003, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.

It’s interesting to note, in this era of multimillion dollar coaching salaries, that Wooden’s highest salary at UCLA was $35,000. John Calipari probably leaves that as a tip.