Published June 06, 2010
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, two of Wooden's greatest players at UCLA, took turns speaking publicly for the first time since the 99-year-old Hall of Famer died Friday.
"It's very difficult for me to put into words the greatness of John Wooden," Abdul-Jabbar said. "He was so much more than a basketball coach. To have him in my life was a true blessing. I will always be grateful I was able to be one of his students."
Abdul-Jabbar rushed back from Europe to visit Wooden at his hospital bedside before he died. Wooden's teams won a record 10 NCAA championships at UCLA, including seven in a row.
Walton recalled what Wooden would tell his players before every game.
"I've done my best. The rest is up to you," he said. "Now that he's gone, it's up to us to carry on his ideals of peace, love, excellence, education and service. We love you more than words can ever tell."
IN CHUCK DALY'S MEMORY: Tex Winter and Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay were honored with the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award on Sunday night.
The award honors the memory of the late Hall of Fame coach and is presented to someone who has demonstrated a high level of excellence, integrity and commitment to promoting the NBA throughout their careers.
Winter, a former Lakers consultant, helped refine the triangle offense and was instrumental in assisting Lakers coach Phil Jackson win six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and four with the Lakers.
"His coaching record was impeccable," Jackson said. "For the first 20 years of basketball that he coached he was one of the top coaches ever in the game."
Ramsay guided the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA championship and retired as the NBA's second winningest coach of all-time.
2011 ALL-STAR GAME: The NBA All-Star game is returning to Los Angeles next year.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Hall of Famer James Worthy helped unveil the logo that will be used for All-Star weekend on Feb. 17-20.
The game will be held in Los Angeles for a record fifth time, with the Lakers and Clippers serving as co-hosts.
"We're looking forward to being back here in Los Angeles for our All-Star weekend or what's really become a week now," NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said. "It becomes the center of the basketball world for a week."