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(Jim Thompson / For The Times)

“Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required each day.” — John Wooden.

That’s what UCLA players did in their Final Four game. I’m a proud Bruin fan. UCLA played better than many writers, announcers and oddsmakers ever imagined. Charles Barkley and many others noted it was the best Final Four game they ever saw. The UCLA athletic program won because the Final Four game will inspire future players, students, alumni, coaches and fans, as John Wooden did for us. The players for both teams truly did their best when their best was required and their efforts will inspire people well beyond athletics.

Frank Barberia

Woodland Hills


College basketball junkies across the U.S. got their fix and plenty more last Saturday night.

The UCLA-Gonzaga game was easily the wildest, most entertaining NCAA game I have watched in my life. It defined March Madness. A roller coaster ride like I have never experienced before. I was glued to my old plasma TV from start to finish sucking on a white towel like Jerry Tarkanian of the UNLV’s Runnin’ Rebels.

Scott Marshutz

Dana Point


Most Final Four post-mortem analyses are emphasizing the storied legacy of incomparable coach John Wooden. So then, why compare him? Mick Cronin’s contribution to UCLA’s basketball present and future is its own story. I was there during UCLA’s championship years and knew Coach Wooden. He, perhaps more than anyone, would want to see today’s light shine on Cronin and his team, casting no shadow from the past. It’s a new day, and I can’t wait for next season.

April Anson Dammann

Gualala, Calif.


With all due respect to Baylor and its basketball program, Baylor did not beat Gonzaga for the NCAA championship, UCLA did. The emotional thrill of beating the Bruins was too much for Gonzaga, as if it won the title during that Final Four game. Suggs, who threw up the buzzer beater, did not score in the championship game till half time and little was left in the tank.

H. Courtney Hughes

Ladera Ranch


Coach Cronin said, “I think it would be great,” referring to hanging a Final Four banner inside Pauley Pavilion alongside their 11 national championship title banners. Please, no way! UCLA goes to the NCAA tournament to win it all. It would tarnish the history of UCLA basketball. Do you think Gonzaga is thinking about hanging a 31-1 banner for this year?

Wayne Muramatsu



As a longtime Bruins fan, now I know how the Missouri fans felt when Tyus Edney tore their heart out in 1995 on the way to our last championship.

Jonathan Braun

Frisco, Texas


As I read Monday’s Sports section re my alma mater and the Gonzaga game, I continually tear up and not sure why. After giving it some thought, maybe it’s because this university changed my life, provided me with an education and a living and perhaps most importantly, lifelong friends and an appreciation for what is referred to as “The People’s School.” It is certainly that, as the opportunities it presents and gifts is there for all who attend.

Barry Freeman

Los Angeles


Monday’s sports section was one of the best that I have read in a long time. The articles about UCLA’s basketball team and Coach Cronin gave credit for an amazing effort during March Madness.

Sol Bialeck

Van Nuys


Speaking of lucky shots, after firing three airballs in failing to lure John Calipari, Jamie Dixon or Rick Barnes to Westwood, Dan Guerrero finally nailed a Hail Mary in hiring Mick Cronin.

Wes Wellman

Santa Monica


My girlfriend (now my wife) and I were attending UCLA when John Wooden won his first NCAA championship. We were both disappointed by their recent loss to Gonzaga; however, neither of us understands the entire front page of the April 5 sports section being nothing but UCLA basketball. After the NCAA showed their overwhelming chauvinism by denying the women equal workout and nutrition amenities the L.A. Times adds insult to injury by giving the losing men the front page and relegating the winning women to the fifth page.

Larry Harmell

Granada Hills

One Dodger problem

What is the thinking of the Dodgers brain trust that keeps Kenley Jansen being used in critical situations? There was a time when that would have been a good move. Those days are a memory. Time to face reality.

Bill Tewksbury

Marion, Mont.


The Dodgers are such a talented team it’s almost scary. Only their loyalty to Kenley Jansen as a closer could be the Achilles’ heel in their well-constructed armor.

Bob Goldstone

Corona del Mar


Enough dumping on Kenley Jansen!

Wednesday’s loss to Oakland was a team effort. Three measly runs? Thirteen men left on base? Max Muncy meekly throwing to first versus third when the A’s bunted in the top of the ninth? Please.

A closer’s job is to save ballgames, not be a savior to compensate for an overall weak team performance.

Cary Brazeman

Los Angeles


With the embarrassment of starting pitching riches the Dodgers have this season, why not preserve the arm of of one of the greats and fill a big need: Clayton Kerahaw to closer for part of the season?

George Metalsky

Redondo Beach

All-Star talk

With so many states attempting to enact voter suppression laws, MLB may have to hold all future All-Star games in Canada.

Bennett Beebe



Many states have voter ID laws and the majority of Americans, including Black Americans, support them. Shame on MLB for moving the All-Star game and getting involved in a controversial political issue. There used to be a time when sports united Americans instead of dividing us, but I guess we “woke” up to that silly idea.

PJ Gendell

Beverly Hills


Sadly, MLB lost a wonderful opportunity to highlight and honor the rich history of Atlanta’s civil rights movement and its’ people (i.e. King, Abernathy, Lewis). Instead, they played politics.

Kathleen Collins

Santa Monica

Quick hits

I’m happy that Tiger Woods survived his horrible auto accident, when he was driving double the speed limit on a winding California road. I also saw that no criminal charges will be filed. I wonder if the same would be true if the person causing the accident were Ralph Woods, Kenneth Woods, or any other Woods not named Tiger.

Michael Gesas

Beverly Hills


If football players had walk-up songs like in baseball, the song for Matthew Stafford or Jared Goff should be “Under my thumb!”

Nathan Gleiberman

Sherman Oaks


Bill Self: coach at Kansas University. Possible investigations of five Level One infractions for inappropriate benefits and conduct at the university’s men’s basketball program. Price: $54.1 million

Joni Taylor: coach at University of Georgia women’s basketball program. Price: $4.25 million.

I guess you do get what you pay for these days.

Jonathan Goldstein

La Jolla


Whenever anyone near me expresses the opinion that “government should be run like a business” my immediate response is always “Dean Spanos” and the argument ends.

Stephen Thorne



The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.


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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.