I linked a story that has been pretty popular among UCLA fansites and message boards in my last post -- the article in regards to the Florida basketball players' feeling towards UCLA's history.
Obviously most of you who stumble across here read the quote by Hodge, asking if John Wooden was "that old dude." Obviously this was a poor lapse in judgement by the Gators' backup point-guard, and was something he obviously shouldn't have said, because Coach Wooden was and will always be a classy individual who has added so much to the game of college basketball -- on the court and off.
Wooden coached one of, if not the, most successful dynasties in sports history, and did it the right way. For that, he deserves a ton of respect. Walter Hodge should have followed that standard, and if he truly didn't know who John Wooden was, then what the heck are they teaching basketball players in Puerto Rico?
That being said, the article did have some quotes that I did find to be pretty straight-forward and make a ton of sense.
Truth. Although it's 11 Al. Not 17. But the fact that he thought 17 shows you how well-thought of the Bruins of old truly are, even by people who don't know exact numbers.
Truth. I agree. Although I'm pretty sure Richard was alive in 1995. But once again, we'll forgive him for that. He wasn't for a majority of them, though, so that's factual for the most part.
Lee hit the nail on the head. UCLA can revel in their illustrious history, and use it as a recruiting tool -- as well as a tool for conjuring up a sense of Bruin pride among fans and players -- but that will have nothing to do with the outcome of Saturday night's game.
Saturday night will be decided by the 2007 UCLA Bruins and the 2007 Florida Gators.
Guys like Arron Aflalo, Josh Shipp and Lorenzo Mata (among others), not Bill Walton, Tyus Edney and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, are the guys that Florida needs to worry about on Saturday night -- and trust me, that's a hard enough task as it is for the Orange and Blue.
And these Gators very well could have a legacy when this season is all said and done. As big a legacy as those UCLA teams of old have to this day? No way. UCLA's college basketball tradition is one of the best, and is unmatched in terms of National Championships in Westwood. But this legacy will be big enough to satisfy us in Gainesville as fans of the University of Florida, and that's all that really matters. That's what sports fan-dom is all about.
But as alluded to above, that legacy will not give Gator teams twenty to thirty years from now an extra push to victory on the basketball court, nor should it awe opposing teams into laying down and allowing Florida to defeat them. That's just not how it works, nor will it ever work that way. Games are played in the moment -- the teams are about the present, the outcomes are about the present, and memories are memories.
Hopefully we'll be having a vivid memory of a Gators win on Saturday night down the road.