TELLING THE STORY OF THE BRUINS’ COLLEGE BASKETBALL DOMINANCE
FROM 1964 TO 1975 UNDER JOHN WOODEN
RETURNS FRIDAY, JUNE 11, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO2
A reminder of the great achievements of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden is captured in the HBO Sports special THE UCLA DYNASTY, a 2007 documentary that traces the incredible success of the UCLA men’s basketball program, which captured an astounding ten national titles during a 12-year run. The HBO2 service will air an encore presentation of the one-hour documentary on FRIDAY, JUNE 11 (7:30-8:30 p.m. ET/PT).
While the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement and political scandal were consuming the nation, a basketball legacy grew in southern California. Led by coach John Wooden, the UCLA Bruins amassed an unprecedented ten NCAA titles in the 12 seasons from 1964-1975, setting a standard of excellence and consistency in a volatile era. To this day, the Wooden legacy and the Bruins’ record-breaking 88-game winning streak remain unparalleled in collegiate sports.
96 years old at the time of his interview for the film, Coach Wooden leads a high-profile list of interviewees that includes former Bruins stars Bill Walton, Lucius Allen, Gail Goodrich, Sidney Wicks, Jamaal Wilkes, John Vallely, Henry Bibby, Marques Johnson, Andy Hill, Peter Trgovich, Gary Cunningham, Kenny Heitz, Jim Nielsen and Larry Farmer; sports executive Eddie Einhorn; legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg; former Houston Cougars stars Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney; actor and former UCLA quarterback Mark Harmon; Doors keyboardist and former UCLA student Ray Manzarek; actor and former UCLA student Beau Bridges; former UCLA Chancellor Charles Young; and former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps.
Executive producers of THE UCLA DYNASTY are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; produced by George Roy; music by Brian Keane; narrated by Liev Schreiber.
TV pioneer Eddie Einhorn: “Dynasties promote your sport. There’s the Yankees, the Cowboys. When you’re lucky enough to have it, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”
Legendary Bruins star Bill Walton: “I never shot a single basket with my dad. I saw him run one time at the church picnic. But my parents were very involved in all the social issues of the day. So they taught us, think for ourselves, question authority, and be involved. I wrecked Coach Wooden’s life. He’s 65 years old from Martinsville and I’m 17 years old from San Diego, and this is the age of Nixon and Vietnam and rock’n’roll, and I was always arguing with him about every topic: politics, religion, dress codes, hair length. You name it, I was on him. It crossed the line the day I got arrested at a peace rally and Coach Wooden had to come down and bail me out of jail.”
Coach Wooden recalled, “[Walton] told me that after his player of the year, and his national championship team went undefeated, that I didn’t have the right to tell him he had to wear his hair a little shorter and couldn’t wear facial hair. And I said, ‘You’re correct, Bill. I don’t have that right. I just have the right to determine who is going to play and we’re going to miss you. And in about 15 minutes I’m not going to have you unless you go upstairs and get it taken care of right away.’ And he stood and looked at me. Finally, I said, ‘Fourteen minutes.’ ”
John Wooden’s attention to detail was reminiscent of an army sergeant. Jamaal Wilkes recalls, “It’s the first day of practice and here’s the ‘Wizard of Westwood’ and it’s so quiet you can hear a pin drop in there.” Actor and former UCLA student Beau Bridges recalls that Wooden would then say, “We will begin by learning how to tie our shoes.”
Pete Trgovich adds: “I was an Indiana all-star. We won a state championship. I had scored more field goals than Oscar Robertson in the state finals. Now you’re gonna tell me how to put my socks on?”
Bill Walton: “When you’re part of something like that, it changes your life forever. It was the fans. It was the players that we had. It was the times. What it really was, was John Wooden.”
During UCLA’s decade of dominance, the Bruins won 335 games, and lost just 22.