“In the end, the choice you make makes you.”

REPORTERS OFTEN ASKED ME: “Do you have a formula for teaching basketball, Coach Wooden, a system?” My answer was, and is, succinct: “Yes: condition, fundamentals, and unity.” It was a formula I learned from Ward “Piggy” Lambert, the remarkable Purdue basketball leader whose influence on me as a person, player, and coach was so enduring. Coach Lambert’s formula, in expanded form, became the heart of my Pyramid of Success.

Ward Lambert was a revolutionary who was, in part, responsible for changing the way the game of basketball was played. His influence is still felt today, first and foremost, in modern basketball’s fast style of play. Coach Lambert loved speed. However, in ...

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