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Enough Autographs: Fans Told to Leave Wizard Alone

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He’s 97 and just wants to watch the game. But former UCLA coach John Wooden is too nice to say no, so this family and he school are doing it for him.

Nearly 33 years after his last NCAA championship, John Wooden still gets mountains of mail. He signs it all–even at age 97–but when he’s out in public, fans ask for autographs too.

A line forms at Pauley Pavilion whenever he’s in the building to watch the Bruins and it’s gotten a little too much for the Wizard of Westwood to handle. Current coach Ben Howland has been trying to get the school to do something about it and now that Wooden’s family has made the same request, they’ve agreed. UCLA is asking fans to leave Wooden alone.

"It all wears on him," UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins told the Associated Press. "He just wants to be able to come and enjoy the games."

Wooden gets around using a cane and usually attends Bruins’ games with his daughter. His seat is directly behind the team bench. One security guard has been attempting keep the crowd orderly.

Howland said he suggested a year or two ago that fans allow Wooden some space.

"It’s long overdue," Howland said. "It’s not an autograph signing session. He’d be there all day just doing that. He never says no to anybody about anything."


John Wooden on eBay

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].

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