Wooden’s mural


I went to John R. Wooden High School (a continuing education school) this morning for the unveiling of a 20 by 25 foot mural of John Wooden. It was incredible. I should have a photo of the mural attached soon, so you can check it out. Local artist Hector Rios didn’t know who John Wooden was before he started the mural, but he did plenty of research and numerous renderings to capture the essence of Wooden. It was a three-month process. Principal Jay Kessler came up with the idea for the project, and students assisted in the effort.

The mual is on a wall on the English classroom, which was a perfect tribute to Wooden, a former English teacher.
Many of the school’s kids were there for the ceremony. Wooden, dressed in a blue sweater, bolo tie and black pants, sat in a wheelchair for the ceremony. He was as sharp as ever. In his speech, he recited poetry and the seven-point creed that his father, Joshua, gave him.
Asked what his favorite part of the mural was, Wooden said: “My wife.”
The late Nell Wooden is depicted holding a basketball. Also on the mural are “Inch and Miles”, the character from his children’s book, Wooden heroes Abe Lincoln and Mother Teresa, etc. The words ”father, husband, teacher, coach, athlete” are on the mural, with pictures of Wooden in each of those roles.

Also, the school has a farm – you could hear roosters in the background during the ceremony – and is looking for donations of animal food. To donate, contact principal Jay Kessler at jkessler@lausd.net.

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About Jill Painter

Jill Painter is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles News Group, covering everything from the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, USC, UCLA, Kings, golf and all human interest stories in sports.
  • tubby420

    sweet. cant wait.

  • Rodney Guillory

    That sounds awesome! Can’t wait to see a photo. Wish they would have added one of Coach Wooden’s favorite poems to the mural.

  • sactownbruin


  • bruins103

    gives me the goosebumps

  • Jose007

    Wow, that really is something special. Thanks for the image!


    You can see Coach always had intensity from his Purdue basketball shot. A couple of questions: what do the cartoon characters in the upper right side symbolize, and who is No. 3 cutting down the nets?

  • The player in question is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He wore No. 33, but only half of the number is clearly visible in the mural. Also, the cartoon characters are “Inch and Miles” from his children’s book.

  • Lloyd Lake

    Jill, technically, that might have been Lew Alcindor back then. Not sure when he converted to Islam and became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    Brian, I have a suggestion for the Blog. Replace the photo of the UCLA Bear on the top of the blog with a photo of the Wooden Mural. Thanks.

  • miltk

    Yes I agree. Imo, when referring to Kareem in his UCLA days, I prefer Lew Alcindor. I believe there’s a lot of significance to the name “Lew Alcindor” in bruin AND ncaa history. It was Lew Alcindor from Power Memorial High who chose to play at UCLA just as it was Cassius Clay who fought Liston in the first fight.

  • Anonymous

    Hopefully it doesn’t get ‘tagged’. Nice mural.

  • yama

    …is that Abe Lincoln on the left?

  • CrouchingBruin

    Yes, Abe Lincoln on the left and what looks like Coach Wooden’s father as well. Mother Teresa at the bottom between Coach & Nell. The award on the right is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which Coach won in 2003:

  • mickthebrick

    Where’s Sam Gilbert?