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  • Peter Miller

SGG episode #27: Marques Johnson’s first and most impactful coach was his father



Coaches are important educational leaders in our schools, communities, and universities. The Sport and the Growing Good (SGG) podcast provides embedded, front-line insights on winning and positive development. The SGG podcast can be heard here and on all major podcast platforms.

Marques Johnson is a commentator for the Milwaukee Bucks on Fox Sports. Marques had a distinguished career as a player: from Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, to UCLA, and then in the NBA. One of the great players of his generation joined the SGG podcast to talk about his dad, some of the famous coaches he played for, and other coaches he’s observed over the years. We discussed:

1.  Marques’ father’s background coaching in Natchitoches, Louisiana and his “basketball bible.”

2.  Learning the game from his dad and competing at Sportsman’s Park (now called Jesse Owens Park).

3.  Growing up with future NFL great James Lofton.

4.  What he and his friends learned by playing the game with a ball of aluminum foil.

5.  Playing for Crenshaw High School’s legendary coach Willie West.

6.  Coach Wooden’s saying, “You don’t treat every player the same, because they’re not the same.”

7.  Coach Wooden’s meticulous notes after each practice.

8.  What Coach Wooden did for the only time before the title game in 1975.

9.  Don Nelson’s willingness to ask players for input.

10.  The Bucks’ 1983 sweep of the Celtics and why Coach Nelson didn’t want to “poke the bear.”

11.  Keeping a team “even keel” and keeping emotions in check through the ups and downs.

12.  Coach Mike Budenholzer’s growth as a head coach including the use of strategies such as “breaking bread,” “daily vitamins,” and knowing how to keep players’ best interest at the forefront.

13.  How he’s changed the ways he works on basketball with his own kids over the years – “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”