Bill Walton is a national treasure

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Photo: Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

Bill Walton is one of the best basketball players to ever step on the hardwood. His career statistics might not jump off the page to a casual fan (13.3 points per game, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.2 blocks) but Walton earned high praise[1] both during and after his playing career, garnering comparisons to all-time greats such as Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. While injuries derailed Walton’s career to an extent, the big man still did enough to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.

After he retired following the 1986-87 campaign, Walton worked on a stuttering problem in order to enter the field of basketball broadcasting. Not counting a roughly three year stint from November 2009 to July 2012 when he had to step away from press row due to recurring back problems, the former Trail Blazer, Clipper, and Celtic has been broadcasting basketball games since 1990. Now at 66 years of age, Walton more than ever has become one of the most polarizing basketball broadcasters in the field due to his plethora of catchphrases as well as the banter he shares with his play-by-play partner.

As Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing points out[2], “When Bill Walton is calling a game, you know it’s likely to get strange.” You don’t have to go any further to test the validity of that statement than this week’s Maui Invitational, where Walton has been calling games for ESPN, a gig he’s held since the 2012-13 season. Take, for example, the long Twitter thread[3] devoted entirely to Walton’s best quotes from the event. Below are some examples:

As someone who is potentially looking for a job in the sports broadcasting field, I’m a big fan of the way Walton calls games. Some critics downplay Walton because he isn’t as serious as some of the other big-time color commentators you’ll hear multiple times a week, but I think that’s what makes him unique and listenable. He’s a nice change of pace from most broadcasters that are on-the-air, and any color commentator that can put a smile on my face at least once a game is A-OK in my book.

References:

1. NBA.com. (2017, August 24). Legends profile: Bill Walton. Retrieved November 22, 2018, from http://www.nba.com/history/legends/profiles/bill-walton

2. Bucholtz, A. (2018, November 20). Bill Walton calling games in Maui has been just as weird as you’d expect. Retrieved November 22, 2018, from https://awfulannouncing.com/espn/bill-walton-maui-invitational-breed-plants-massage.html

3. This is a thread strictly for Bill Walton quote from the Maui Invitational throughout this week:. (2018, November 20). Retrieved November 22, 2018, from https://twitter.com/BarstoolProJoes/status/1064757894418190336

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