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John Nelson

School: Madison

Sports Played: Basketball, Golf

High School Honors: Basketball: 3-year letter winner; Team MVP all four years. Golf: 4-year letter winner; #1 player on the team all 4 years; Medalist in the Oregon State Boys Championship in the summer following the freshman year and Champion in the summer following the Sophomore year.

Post High School Career: At Portland State University, 4-year letter winner; career 2,123 points scored in 101 games; Among all-time leader in scoring in and rebounding; 3-time recipient of Morris Rogoway Award for scholarship, personal achievement and ability. JD from Stanford School of Law, 1969.


One lesson I learned was to accept success and failure as part of life.

I am sure I am the only member of the PIL Hall of Fame who was a starter on a varsity team that failed to win one game during the season. As a member of the first entering freshman class at Madison, I was a starter as a sophomore on the basketball team. We had only a couple of upper classmen. Our highlight was forcing Washington into overtime. Even my class room teachers were asking if we were ever going to win a game. By my senior year we were a good but not a great team and I was first team all-city and the leading scorer in the league. My other sport was golf. I won the OGA State Boys Championship in the summer following that painful sophomore year.

Another lesson learned was to show up on time and try to do your best.

My father instilled in me that you had to leave for a game or important practice early enough that if you had a flat tire you would still be on time. My daughters asked why we had to be the first ones in the parking lot for one of their many athletic tournaments. If it is important, be there on time and always try your best. Then you can accept the results.

Vocationally, I became a civil litigation attorney in Southern California.

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