The Pyramid of Success Revisited
Imagining what John Wooden would say about the current state of affairs in college sports
Here’s a news flash. College athletics have become increasingly mired by corruption, hypocrisy, and greed in the 50 years since legendary UCLA basketball head coach John Wooden’s first of 10 NCAA championships. Thankfully, a federal judge recently ruled that in prohibiting payments to college athletes, the NCAA was in violation of antitrust laws. The umbrella organization has vowed to appeal, insisting that the status quo provides “social glue” on campuses nationwide. It got us thinking about the current state of college athletics and wondered what John Wooden would have to say about it. Wooden famously described his approach to both basketball and life as a “Pyramid of Success,” a visual aid that communicated a form of success built block by block, with each block representing a contributing principle to lasting achievement. Here, we reimagine Wooden’s famed infographic as if it sprung from the principles that unfortunately define college athletics today.
Illustration by Ricky Linn