Oct. 29, 2012
Below are thoughts from several of UCLA's prominent former men's basketball players about the re-opening of iconic Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins' home venue since the 1964-65 school year.
"I'm excited about the opening of the building. It's a face-lift for Pauley Pavilion, but it's still Pauley. It's going to be exciting for everyone - for us as a team and staff, and all alums and former players are going to be happy to come and watch us win in this great atmosphere and new environment that is going to be Pauley Pavilion."
"I look forward to an outburst of enthusiasm and energy from the crowd - the whole makeover, the newness of the arena. Just like it felt when I first walked into Pauley when I was 13 or 14 years-old back in the early 1970s, and played on that floor for the first time. I really expect to have that same feeling of newness recreated - the energy of the building, the hotness of the building, the excitement in terms of the fans. To have this whole new era ushered in with a great recruiting class, great crowd, a great school, and to have New Pauley as the centerpiece of it all, is the cherry on top."
"The thing that I'm looking most forward to is winning. We've got to get it back, that tradition - it's the greatest tradition in college basketball. We built it, let's bring it back home to New Pauley."
"I remember as a kid, coming to some games in Pauley Pavilion and knowing about the success at UCLA - the excitement, the tradition and the banners. Whenever you came into Pauley back then, and it will be exactly the same when the new building opens, the moms and dads and brothers and uncles would explain to you this is what UCLA is all about - the tradition, the championships. I got that when I was 11 years old. Being here in Los Angeles, you know about the success at UCLA and what this building stands for. With the opening of New Pauley, I'm looking forward to the excitement of being back, the excitement about the program and the excitement about the new building."
"It's going to be very exciting to see the next generation of the brand of UCLA basketball in New Pauley Pavilion. There has always been huge success there, from the dynasty years and throughout the years of UCLA basketball. To watch all this open in an updated, state of-the-art basketball pavilion is going to be phenomenal. New Pauley is going to be like it has never been before, and I know the fans are going to love it."
"What I'm looking most forward to is seeing how the UCLA players are going to react to this new environment. I remember when I was a sophomore and ran out onto the new Pauley floor for our first regular season game vs. Ohio State (Dec. 3, 1965). The pavilion was totally packed, there were over 12,500 Bruin fans standing on their feet, cheering us on. When this year's Bruin team runs onto the New Pauley floor for the first time, I'll take a moment and reflect back on those great, great times we had in Pauley Pavilion. Those were without question some of the best times of my life. I'll think about Coach Wooden and how great it would have been to have him here to see something that he helped create."
"Pauley Pavilion has always had such a great aura, as a building, as a place. It's a destination, not only for the student body, but for everyone around Los Angeles and all basketball fans around the nation who support the UCLA Bruins. I want that to come back and that's what I look forward to in New Pauley Pavilion. Such a tremendous job has been done to bring Pauley Pavilion into 2012. And at the same time, preserving what was so great about the old Pauley Pavilion - all the tradition, the floor, the coloring, just how everything fits together is so special. Nothing has been lost from the old to the new. I'm looking for New Pauley to once again inspire awe, and a little bit of fear into opponents, when they walk into New Pauley for the first time."
"I was thinking about Coach Wooden on the way over here (to Pauley Pavilion), and I think he would be pleased because it's state-of-the-art, but it retains the flavor of Pauley and it's not overly flamboyant. It's classy, like he was.
"After seeing New Pauley Pavilion, I envy the student-athletes who will continue to excel in what John Wooden started, winning!!!"