UCLA basketball is history as much as tradition. From the early days when the lack of reasonable travel options forced the Bruins to play local high school teams, to the World War II years against the studio teams from Hollywood, to the almost surreal success during the 1960s and 70s, to beyond.
Jackie Robinson played basketball at UCLA. So did Rafer Johnson. They were part of the era when the Bruins often struggled for wins, strange as that would come to sound for a program that would one day have 88 of them in a row. Lew Alcindor came from the East to dominate, Bill Walton from the West to maintain the greatness, John Wooden from the heartland of Indiana to lead them both, and to lead them all.
The Bruin 100 recounts—in order of importance to the sport and the programs—how Wooden nearly didn't come to UCLA and the moment when Alcindor was glad he did. It chronicles the guard who later won the Nobel Peace Prize, the forward who helped save a life in the afternoon and a team later that night, the center who wasn't a superstar but played like it to keep the dynasty alive.
It brings back the people and the moments, the most storied games in the most successful of programs. The national championships, the loss to Houston in what has been called the Game of the Century. The record winning streak, the loss to North Carolina State in the Final Four that still pains. The coast-to-coast run by Tyus Edney against Missouri, the even-more-improbable run by Larry Brown's underdog team to reach the title game.
Relive the tradition, some parts of which are not even detailed in the record books, through photos and anecdotes and the foreward by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Or live it for the first time.
Scott Howard-Cooper grew up in Southern California and has been a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Times since 1981. Since 1988 he has covered the NBA and UCLA.