A Story Fit for a Legend 712.2

The UCLA Bruin basketball team was thumping the Arizona Wildcats by 20 points with about one minute left, so Coach Ben Howland put in all his bench players, including stocky, six-foot guard Tyler Trapani. Tyler, a junior, is a “walk-on,” which means he wasn’t recruited and does not have a scholarship. He’s been on the team for three years and had played in only three games for about three minutes total. He’d never scored a point, but he was thrilled just to be part of the team.

What made this so special is that Tyler is the great-grandson of legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden, and this was the last game to be played at Pauley Pavilion, which is scheduled for a complete renovation. Coach Howland wanted to be sure Coach Wooden’s great-grandson was on the floor when the buzzer sounded, ending the era on this historic arena.

What only a Hollywood scriptwriter could imagine is that, in the waning seconds, a Bruin would shoot an air ball that landed in Tyler’s hands. Tyler shot the ball, scoring his first points ever for UCLA and the last points to be scored in the arena.

The event itself was touching, but Coach Howland’s press conference (you can find it on YouTube) was even more so. He was visibly emotional as he expressed his amazement: “It fell right into his hands … There’s something going on there, I really believe that. To have Trapani make that last shot means so much to me.”

It’s the kind of story fit for a legend.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 3

  1. I have just finish seeing that video on YouTube of Tyler Trapani. That was toughing to me in a way that it would encourage myself every morning when I walk out threw my front door and keep on trying just like this young man. I have always be trying my best and after this I know i am going to succeed in life.

  2. What this commenatry means is that it doesn’t matter if you aren’t picked for things that your not good at. All matters is that you are living life and enjoy it and even when your living life you might end up with something special later on. So thats what this passage means to mean.

  3. This is a wonderful story but I do have one little problem and that is the discription of thumping UCLA was giving Arizona from which I graduated. Just kidding and another indication at least to me that things happen for a reason. Would this of been the case if UCLA was down by 2 points, probably not but the fact is that the game was in their hands. Was it just chance that the ball was in Tyler’s hands with time running out? I choose to think not that something greater than ourselves was at play that day.

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