John Wooden

UCLA was to right to bar fans from seeking Wooden's autograph.

Apparently UCLA officials want all fans that attend Bruin basketball games at Pauley Pavilion to let the 97-year-old John Wooden watch basketball uninterrupted. Spokesman Marc Dellins announced on Wednesday that fans won't be allowed to continuously walk up to the former coach during games and ask for autographs.

UCLA Coach Ben Howland strongly favored the decision, saying, “I think it’s long overdue. When Coach Wooden comes to a game, it would be nice if people respected the fact he’s there to enjoy the game and not just sign autographs."

“Here’s a living legend and it’s something he’s done for years and years. I suggested this a year or two ago. He’s got to have a little more protection. He’d be there all day just doing that because he’s so great. He hardly says no to anybody.”

It was a much needed decision by UCLA, especially since Wooden always finds it difficult to turn down request. While most fans are pleasant and patient, it is fairly common to see a line of 10 or 15 lined up in the narrow aisle at Pauley waiting for an autograph. Every person, Wooden included, has the right to watch a basketball game and not be disturbed by autograph seekers. There is nothing wrong for seeking Wooden's John Hancock but it would be more fitting to have him sign at an autograph session.

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