Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden to be honored with commemorative stamp

A commemorative Forever stamp featuring legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden will be issued next year, the U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday.

The limited edition stamp, featuring an original portrait of Wooden, will go on sale early in 2024 and is expected to be available for about a year. A total of 18 million will be printed, according to UPS.

"This stamp is a tribute to Coach Wooden's remarkable and widespread impact, which extends far beyond UCLA and far beyond basketball," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement. "His success on the court was unparalleled, and he remains a model of integrity and excellence in athletics. But the values he stood for and the timeless wisdom he shared have spread even further, influencing generations of leaders from all walks of life."

The new stamp depicts Wooden at courtside in the early 1970s, intensely focused on a game and wearing a pinstripe suit, patterned tie and black-framed glasses.

In the stamp's background, one player attempts a jump shot as another tries to block it, their jersey numbers, 4 and 10, signify the Bruins' four undefeated seasons under Wooden -- in 1964, 1967, 1972 and 1973 -- and the 10 NCAA championships, including the seven in a row his teams won over the 12- season span of 1964 to 1975.

John Wooden. (Getty Images)

Neither accomplishment has ever been bested, and the Bruins' 88-game winning streak between 1971 and 1974 remains the longest in the history of college basketball.

In 2003, Wooden was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Wooden, who in 2006 had a post office in Reseda named for him, is the second college basketball coach to be honored with a postage stamp, the first being James Naismith, the game's inventor, who received a stamp in 1961.