Watch CBS News

Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, who led Bruins to 10 national titles, honored with USPS stamp

Iconic UCLA basketball coach John Wooden memorialized with USPS stamp
Iconic UCLA basketball coach John Wooden memorialized with USPS stamp 00:54

Iconic UCLA basketball coach John Wooden was honored with stamp by the United States Postal Service on Saturday, celebrating an extraordinary career that saw him lead the Bruins to 10 national titles. 

The stamp of UCLA Bruins' legendary head coach John Wooden, released on Saturday.  United States Postal Service

"John Wooden's contributions transcended basketball, offering lessons in integrity, teamwork, and personal excellence that resonate across our nation," said Derek Kan, a member of the USPS Board of Governors. "In dedicating this stamp, the United States Postal Service honors not just a legendary coach, but a transformative figure in sports and leadership."

Wooden is widely regarded as the greatest coach in the history of sports, with his unparalleled success both on the court and in his personal life. 

Saturday's event, which was held at the East Plaza of Pauley Pavilion, saw a slew of speakers, including Wooden's eldest granddaughter Christy Impelman, UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, former UCLA gymnastics head coach Valorie Kondos Field and one of Wooden's best products, Hall of Fame basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. 

They were joined by another former great who played under Wooden, Jamaal "Silk" Wilkes, who played with the Bruins for two of those championships and was the event's master of ceremonies. 

Wooden began coaching at UCLA in 1948 and retired nearly three decades later in 1975, acting as one of the key pieces in breaking the color barrier in collegiate basketball. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame twice, once in 1960 as a player for Purdue University in the 1940s, and again in 1973 as a coach. He was named the NCAA College Basketball Coach of the Year an astounding six times. 

John Wooden stamp
Lakers great and UCLA alum Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, right, standing next to Basketball Hall of Famer Jamaal Wilkes, makes a presentation at the first-day-of-issue ceremony for a commemorative Forever stamp depicting the late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden held Saturday outside Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles on February 22, 2024. Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The dynasty began in 1964, when the Bruins cruised to a perfect 30-0 season and earned their first national championship. They took home the title again the next season, becoming just the fifth ever program to win back-to-back championships. 

Wooden led the Bruins to four perfect seasons throughout his tenure, including an incredible 88-game win streak that lasted from 1971 to 1974. It remains the longest streak in college basketball history.

In 2003, President George W. Bush awarded Wooden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the nation's highest attainable civilian honor. 

He died in 2010 at the age of 99. 

The stamp features artwork by Alexis Franklin, and is based on a photograph of Wooden taken by Norm Schindler in the early 1970s, according to the USPS. The project was overseen by Antonio Alcalá, an art director with the postal service. 

Behind Wooden, are two players, wearing the numbers 4 and 10, which are to represent the Bruins' four perfect seasons and 10 national championships. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.