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Collected Wisdom: Henry Bibby, Memphis Grizzlies assistant coach and former NBA player

Memphis Grizzlies assistant coach Henry Bibby talks about playing for coach John Wooden, his history with Memphis coach Lionel Hollins and his relationship with son Mike Bibby.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 11, 2013

North Carolina, it's back in the '60s, when integration was just starting. It was a learning experience for me. More opportunities were presenting themselves at that time. Fortunately, I was able to capitalize on that. I was from a good family. Two-parent family. It was great that I was grounded, from both the standpoint of being able to move on to broaden my horizon, my academics, my education, that I probably wouldn't have gotten if I had stayed in my little small area in North Carolina.

In high school, my name kept coming up in scouting reports, recruiting, and all of a sudden, you're on the radar. Coach Wooden would come to North Carolina every summer to do a basketball camp. My name kept coming up. So he stopped in one day. That was it. They said, “Go West, young man.”

I was very good friends with Kareem. I'm just so happy being part of a dynasty at UCLA that will never be matched. You go back, if you could live those years again, at 18, 19, 20 years old. You have no idea really what life is all about. If I could do that one more time, to be in the presence of Coach Wooden. I was with him three days before he passed away. Just to see a legendary person, not just from basketball court, but that type of person off the court, is something I will remember until I die about UCLA and about the success.

I'm proud that I've been able to touch a lot of kids' lives that I wouldn't have been able to touch if I hadn't been in basketball. I've done a lot of things basketball wise in the way of winning. But the winning part is being able to help some of these kids who have kind of lost their way in the process of trying to get what they want to get in life. That's happiness. I've been a friend to a lot of guys.

I have no regrets in life. I'm happy with the hand that I've been dealt. I've been very fortunate. The most important thing has been my health. My health has been good. Had a lot of opportunities to coach different people. Been around this business over forty-something years. Just keeps getting better. So I have no regrets which way my path has taken me.

I have no problem with (son) Mike. He has no problem with me. Every kid growing up has hated their parent at some point in time. That's OK, too. It's all been a learning experience for them. Now my kids have their own kids and they understand what I tried to do. Most important thing is family. They see that now. Sometimes you have to provide for your family, you have to take different routes to do that. My career took me in different places to provide.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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