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John Wooden

First Day of Issue Date: February 24, 2024

First Day of Issue Location: Los Angeles, CA

About This Stamp

This stamp honors John Wooden (1910–2010), the legendary coach who led the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins to a record-setting 10 Division I men’s basketball national championships.

It features a portrait of Wooden looking intently out beyond the viewer. In the deep “UCLA blue” background, a player defends a shot. The numbers on the two players’ jerseys, 4 and 10, evoke the Bruins’ four perfect seasons and the 10 national championships during Wooden’s tenure.

Often considered the greatest coach in the history of American sports, Wooden was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame twice: in 1960 as a player for Purdue University in the 1930s, and in 1973 as a coach. The National Collegiate Athletic Association named him College Basketball Coach of the Year six times. In 1948 he helped break a color barrier in collegiate basketball, and he is also remembered for teaching his players how to achieve excellence not only on the court but also in life.

Wooden accepted UCLA’s offer as head coach of men’s basketball in 1948. In the early 1960s, he decided to implement a disruptive defensive strategy called the full-court press, and the Bruins soon mastered this difficult-to-learn and extremely taxing tactic, confounding their opponents. In 1964, the team achieved a perfect season and won its first national championship. The 1965 team won the national championship, too, becoming only the fifth ever to win two consecutive titles. The Bruins’ era as a dynasty had begun. The Bruins would go on to win eight more national championships by the time Wooden retired in 1975, including seven straight. They would enjoy four perfect (30–0) seasons, and, during the 1971 through 1974 seasons, would win 88 consecutive games, exceeding the previous record by 28 wins. All of these records remain unbroken.

President George W. Bush awarded Wooden the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2003.

Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp using original artwork by Alexis Franklin, based on a photograph by Norm Schindler from the early 1970s.

The John Wooden stamp is being issued as a Forever® stamp in a pane of 20. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.

Stamp Art Director, Stamp Designer

Antonio Alcalá

Antonio Alcalá served on the Postmaster General’s Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee from 2010 until 2011, when he left to become an art director for the U.S. Postal Service's stamp development program.

He is founder and co-owner of Studio A, a design practice working with museums and arts institutions. His clients include: the National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Phillips Collection, and Smithsonian Institution. He also lectures at colleges including the Corcoran College of Art + Design, SVA, Pratt, and MICA.

In 2008, his work and contributions to the field of graphic design were recognized with his selection as an AIGA Fellow. He has judged international competitions for the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, AIGA, and Graphis. Alcalá also serves on the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and Poster House Museum’s advisory councils. His designs are represented in the AIGA Design Archives, the National Postal Museum, and the Library of Congress Permanent Collection of Graphic Design.

Alcalá graduated from Yale University with a BA in history and from the Yale School of Art with an MFA in graphic design. He lives with his wife in Alexandria, Virginia.

Stamp Artist

Alexis Franklin

Alexis Franklin is a digital painter and videographer based in Dallas, Texas. Self-taught, she has worked as a freelance illustrator for a number of years since garnering acclaim on Instagram. Working in a style that is heavily inspired by traditional oil paintings, she is known for the time-lapse videos she creates of her process.

Franklin’s clients for custom artwork include O: The Oprah MagazineTIME magazine, Sports Illustrated, and New York magazine.

The John Wooden stamp is Franklin’s first project for the U.S. Postal Service. 

First Day of Issue Ceremony

First Day of Issue Date: February 24, 2024
First Day of Issue Location: Los Angeles, CA

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