Book Review: Coach Wooden and Me by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the CourtCoach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s written tribute to his 50-year friendship with legendary basketball coach John Wooden is a gift to sports history. While the author may be the NBA’s reigning all-time leading scorer (with scores of other athletic accolades also to his name), this memoir about his basketball career veers away from stats and records. Instead, it drives straight into the core of one of the most incredible mentor relationships ever seen in sports. The writing, honest and witty, is the linguistic equivalent of a subtle, knowing smile. Abdul-Jabbar reminisces about Coach Wooden’s aphorisms and Midwestern quirks, his winning strategies, and his quiet struggles. Most of all, through the kaleidoscope of Abdul-Jabbar’s memories, we see the vision of a unique friendship where two men were perfectly suited to learn from each other, challenge each other, support each other, and become masters not just of their sport, but also of living a life that fills each “minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run.”

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