Final Four

Final Four Preview: While Cranking “Eyes of the World,” Walton Lectures Bruins on Pyramid of Success

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Bill Walton sets up his easel in the front of the out-of-the-way hotel meeting room in the Indianapolis Inn. It’s in this hotel where his UCLA Bruins are staying before tonight’s Final Four game against undefeated Gonzaga.

He sets a 10-foot-by-10-foot chart on the easel showing John Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” image that has sold millions of copies worldwide.

Two gigantic men start entering the room: Lew Alcindor, Sven Nater, both over 7 feet tall, take a seat in the front row of the cheesy-sized chairs. They’re followed by the UCLA players about to take on the nation’s best basketball team, Gonzaga. Johnny Juzang struts in first followed by Jaime Jaquez Jr. They squat in the second row.

“Alexa,” Walton barks at his artificial intelligence device. “Play ‘Eyes of the World’ by the Grateful Dead.”

Alexa cranks up the tune.

“The eyes of the world will be fixated on you UCLA Bruins tonight,” says Walton. “The question is are you ready for this moment in world history to take the Bruins back to the top of the basketball pyramid? Look at this chart. Memorize it. Meditate about it. It’s the essence of life, of tonight’s game, of your very reason for being alive. Everything you need to know about how to win tonight’s game is covered right here in this pyramid.”

He points to one of the rocks on the pyramid.

“I want you to focus on this one, Self Control. Self Control, it says, is the practice of self-discipline and keeping emotions under control. Good judgment is essential.”

“Excuse me, sir, first of all, who are you?” asks Johnny Juzang. “And second, I can’t see the chart because there are two 7-foot men I’ve never seen before in front of me.”

“You don’t know who I am?” asks Walton. “I led UCLA to two national titles and was the national player of the year twice. You need to have the self-control to learn your history, Juzang. You need to read up on the Egyptians. They built pyramids. It took them tens of thousands of years but they had the self-control to persist. Many of them spent their whole lives building pyramids and never even saw them finished. That’s self-control. That’s what you guys need tonight.”

“Mr. Walton,” says Juzang. “It’s kind of hard to hear you with that song playing so loud. And I can’t see the charts, as I said.”

“You need to have the self-control to listen to this song and listen to me educate you on the pyramid of success all at once,” said Walton. “In order to beat Gonzaga, you’re gonna need that kind of mental strength and calmness of mind.”

“Alexa, louder,” Walton shouts at the device.

Eyes of the World blares louder. It shakes the walls and floor.

“The Eyes of the World will be watching you Bruins tonight,” says Walton. “You better be ready for this moment. You better be thinking like Egyptian pyramid builders, building your lives stacking one piece of rock at a time. From Egypt to Siberia to Alaska to Los Angeles, the eyes of the world will be dialed into you guys playing basketball tonight in the biggest moment of your lives. Nothing you do the rest of your lives will compare to the opportunity you’ll have on the court tonight, to slay the undefeated Zags and put your names into the rafters of Pauley Pavilion forever with the all-time greats like me and Lew.”

“Sir, who’s Lew?” asks Juzang.

“He’s sitting right in front of you, the great Lew Alcindor. He’s got copies of the books he’s written for sale today. You can buy them at a volume discount.”

Walton then turns to Alexa again and shouts. “Play ‘High Time’ by the Grateful Dead.

Alexa pulls that tune out of her playbook and cranks it.

“You know why we’re here, this Brotherhood of Bruins? You know what this is? This is high time. It’s time to get high. It’s time to fly onto that court and rise above the rims and never stop rising until the end of the game when it’s high time to cut down the nets.”

Alcindor, Nater, and the Bruins gather in front of the easel and huddle. They put their fists in the middle. Walton shouts “one, two, three”:

They all chant in unison “self-control.”

Walton grabs his easel and pyramid chart and Alexa keeps cranking “High Time.”

Then, single file, they sprint out of the meeting room and straight over the stadium shouting “self-control, self-control, self-control.”

Sammy Sportface

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Sammy Sportface

Sammy Sportface, a sports blogger, galvanizes, inspires, and amuses The Baby Boomer Brotherhood. And you can learn about his vision and join this group's Facebook page here: Sammy Sportface Has a Vision -- Check It Out Sammy Sportface -- The Baby Boomer Brotherhood Blog -- Facebook Page
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Sammy Sportface
Sammy Sportface
Sammy Sportface, a sports blogger, galvanizes, inspires, and amuses The Baby Boomer Brotherhood. And you can learn about his vision and join this group's Facebook page here:

Sammy Sportface Has a Vision -- Check It Out

Sammy Sportface -- The Baby Boomer Brotherhood Blog -- Facebook Page
Sammy Sportface

Sammy Sportface

Sammy Sportface, a sports blogger, galvanizes, inspires, and amuses The Baby Boomer Brotherhood. And you can learn about his vision and join this group's Facebook page here: Sammy Sportface Has a Vision -- Check It Out Sammy Sportface -- The Baby Boomer Brotherhood Blog -- Facebook Page

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