Coach Wooden and Me

Our 50-Year Friendship on and off the Court
Narrated by: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Length: 6 hrs
5 out of 5 stars (570 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Former NBA star and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explores his 50-year friendship with Coach John Wooden, one of the most enduring and meaningful relationships in sports history.

When future NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was still an 18-year-old high school basketball prospect from New York City named Lew Alcindor, he accepted a scholarship from UCLA largely on the strength of Coach John Wooden's reputation as a winner. It turned out to be the right choice, as Alcindor and his teammates won an unprecedented three NCAA championship titles. But it also marked the beginning of one of the most extraordinary and enduring friendships in the history of sports. 

In Coach Wooden and Me, Abdul-Jabbar reveals the inspirational story of how his bond with John Wooden evolved from a history-making coach-player mentorship into a deep and genuine friendship that transcended sports, shaped the course of both men's lives, and lasted for half a century. Coach Wooden and Me is a stirring tribute to the subtle but profound influence that Wooden had on Kareem as a player, and then as a person, as they began to share their cultural, religious, and family values while facing some of life's biggest obstacles. 

From his first day of practice, when the players were taught the importance of putting on their athletic socks properly; to gradually absorbing the sublime wisdom of Coach Wooden's now famous "Pyramid of Success"; to learning to cope with the ugly racism that confronted black athletes during the turbulent Civil Rights era as well as losing loved ones, Abdul-Jabbar fondly recalls how Coach Wooden's fatherly guidance not only paved the way for his unmatched professional success but also made possible a lifetime of personal fulfillment. 

Full of intimate, never-before-published details and delivered with the warmth and erudition of a grateful student who has learned his lessons well, Coach Wooden and Me is at once a celebration of the unique philosophical outlook of college basketball's most storied coach and a moving testament to the all-conquering power of friendship. 

Instant New York Times and USA Today best seller 

President Barack Obama's Favorite Book of 2017 

A Boston Globe and Huffington Post Best Book of 2017 Pick 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2017 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (P)2017 Hachette Audio
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A WONDERFUL TRIBUTE

This book is a moving, and touching tribute to the legendary coach and person John Wooden. It is beautifully written by one obviously deeply touched by his friendship.

7 people found this helpful

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BRAVO, Big Fella!!!

Awesome inside view of both Kareem an Coach that we have never seen before. So simple, so human, so honest about an amazing friendship! I cannot wait until I can share this with others!

6 people found this helpful

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Inspiring - and I know zero about sports

I don't follow basketball or really any sports. But listened to this book based on a review. Loved it. The lessons and life of Coach Wooden will stick with me for a long time.

Any one involved with youth, whether coaching, mentoring or teaching Sunday School will find this story inspiring and encouraging. I've recommended it to many friends.

Kareem did a wonderful of reading his book. I think that made his book a real standout. Thank you Kareem for a wonderful gift to future generations.

4 people found this helpful

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4.5 Stars

Great book about two great men. Only thing that detracted from the story was the political rhetoric. I understand that Kareem's politics are very important to him and should be a part of the story, but there were times he could have mentioned his political thoughts and then moved on, but instead he would drag on about them.

Other than the heavy political sections, the book was fantastic. Wonderful story, wonderfully written, and wonderfully read.

4 people found this helpful

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Love the insight

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book is for more than those who love basketball. It is also a good commentary on how friendship can thrive despite different backgrounds. I enjoyed the insight from Coach Wooden's life and approach to life/basketball.

What about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s performance did you like?

I enjoyed listening to this as it was read by the author. I feel that helps breath life into any story.

3 people found this helpful

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  • BG
  • 06-22-17

I was deeply touched by Karim's story

What did you love best about Coach Wooden and Me?

I was moved by Karim's heartfelt story of his own evolution as a human being as well as the loving and respectful relationship that he developed with the coach over a 50 year period. The book answered a question I always had about the relationship between the Coach and Karim. Being a Bruin and an avid UCLA basketball fan, I have read a lot about UCLA Basketball starting from David Halberstam's masterpiece Breaks of the Game and most recently Bill Walton's autobiography, Coming From Dead. Bil Walton being very vocal and expressive we all know that the close relationship Bill had with the Coach. But there was never much information about the relationship, if any, existed between Karim and The Coach, post-UCLA. This book clarifies that question. They had developed in later years a deep and loving and caring relationship. It was great to know that.

3 people found this helpful

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Two Great Men

An outstanding listen. I gained insight into the lives of two great men. Well done and worth every minute.

1 person found this helpful

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A great positive example for our divided nation

Kareem and Coach Wooden came from very different backgrounds and had very different personal beliefs, but their respect for each other made for a beautiful example of what humanity can be. Both Kareem and Coach Wooden have written several amazing books, and this book definitely feels like some of those, but this focus on Kareem's personal relationship with Coach Wooden through the years is one of the best I have read.

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excellent narritave of a growth of a friendship.

I listened to this start to finish and thought it was an excellent insight to Wooden's life. I really enjoyed how Kareem spent a lot of time talking about Kareem's politics without politicing or going into greater detail than the story called for. several spots had years only eyes. excellent book!

1 person found this helpful

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Not a big fan of basketball, but a fan of life.

This book not only makes me think of our legacy, but opens my heart. Truly inspires hope within to walk whatever path one might choose. To see the limitations and the power we each have to create a better world.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ordinary Ed
  • 03-06-20

Fantastic bio analytica!

Enjoyed the candid and personal introspective that Karim undertakes.
Very inspiring...
Teacher and Apprentice for a lifetime...
Great listen!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-07-17

OUTSTANDING!

Loved it! Just finished listening to the audio version. A must-read/listen for all. It added value to my life! Meaningful, admirable, insightful, made me laugh and cry, very powerful message about faith, love, grief, religion..😍

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  • Luckyluke
  • 05-06-20

Touches your heart

A wonderful story that helps you get an understanding of the depth of the relationship between Coach Wooden and Kareem Abdul- Jabbar. I am looking forward to listening to it again as an inspiration to the man I wish I could be.