Son's Of Westwood

Posted: July 27, 2013

The Sons of Westwood: John Wooden, UCLA, and the Dynasty That Changed College BasketballFor more than a decade, the UCLA dynasty defined college basketball. In twelve seasons from 1964 to 1975, John Wooden's teams won ten national titles, including seven consecutive championships. The Bruins made history by breaking numerous records, but they also rose to prominence during a turbulent age of political unrest and youthful liberation. When Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton--the most famous college basketball players of their generation--spoke out against racism, poverty, and the Vietnam War, they carved out a new role for athletes, casting their actions on and off the court in a political light.

The Sons of Westwood tells the story of the most significant college basketball program at a pivotal period in American cultural history. It weaves together a story of sports and politics in an era of social and cultural upheaval, a time when college students and college athletes joined the civil rights movement, demonstrated against the Vietnam War, and rejected the dominant Cold War culture. This is the story of America's culture wars played out on the basketball court by some of college basketball's most famous players and its most memorable coach.


This was a good story about UCLA Basketball.  The beginnings and about John Wooden.  Who is always responsible for their success?   Part of the story I have read in other books.  The author takes us through the time from when Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) was there and the protests that he and other players did on campus.  How Kareem thought about leaving UCLA and going back home to New York.  He also spoke about how there was, two set of rules that the players who did not start felt there were more rules for them than the starters.  This all came to a head at a year-end banquet when the young man got up and spoke his peace.  He then brings up an asst. coach Norman Sherry who also was a player at UCLA in the 1950’s.  He left after UCLA won their 4th NCAA title, but he left coaching altogether.  He got into a job where he could make more money.  There probably was some hard feelings like anyone when the head coach gets the credit but it is people behind the scenes and the players.  The book goes on from there through the Walton years, more problems with some of the players.    A part of the story he talks about is the athletic director J.D. Morgan.  He was there from 1963-1979 during that time UCLA won 30 NCAA championships more than any other school.   10-basketball, 7-volleyball, 6-tennis, 4-track & field, and 3 water polo and the football team played the two Rose bowls.  He also oversaw the building of Pauley Pavilion and he brought in local TV contracts.  The basketball program paid for the athletic department over 350,000 a year.  Other schools it was football.  He also had a national TV contract for UCLA basketball.  Because of this he helped the NCAA tournament sign its first lucrative TV contract and long term.  Now the tournament is a month long and UCLA basketball is still known throughout the country even the world.  This was a good book and though the author does not say it. Both Jabbar, Walton, and other players who may have had problems with him turned to him and looked for him and his advice when they got older.  So, something worked.

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