Bill Walton: My Bill Walton Moment...

Sheila Jackson Lee: Longtime US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, who had pan...
Published Time: 27.05.2024 - 22:04:06 Modified Time: 27.05.2024 - 22:04:06

He stopped, and asked what happened, and how I was doing? Bill Walton, bill walton death, bill walton cancer, bill walton cause of death

He stopped, and asked what happened, and how I was doing?

Walton knew surgeries. He had, it’s reported 39. Foot problems. Leg problems. Broken back. He knew pain — until the end it is said — and such was his nature, he wanted to offer words of encouragement.

Which he did.

It was not gratuitous. He spent several minutes chatting with me, before he moved on.

Everybody’s got a story.

What is clear from every comment in the hours after the news broke is Bill Walton was an eminently decent fellow. Caring. Interesting. Inquisitive. Intelligent. Always asking of others how they were doing?

And, as anybody knows who watched a game when he was doing color, especially the ones with straight man Dave Pash, Walton was likely from an alternative universe, or at least another planet.

I’ll admit it took awhile to watch a game he was doing. He was an acquired taste. I finally succumbed to his childlike charm and enthusiasm. Cherished it.

What a fascinating guy.

What an incredible basketball player.

Inarguably he’s one of the handful of greatest collegian hoopsters ever, arguably topping the list.

In the NCAA title game against Memphis State he is credited with making 21 of 22 shots. Which is true, but not the whole stat line actually. He dunked four of four more which were waived off because of the silly anti-Alcindor no dunk rule then in place.

Hooks. Turn arounds. Lay ups.

Sure 6-8 Ronnie Robinson was not match. But, in a title game, 25/26 against Red Klotz would be impressive.

The Bruins didn’t win the title one season during Walton’s three years. In the four part 30 for 30 on Walton — watch it — he offers an explanation.

It was the early 70s, like most his age, Walton and some of his teammates were getting stoned. Apparently the overbearingly tight-assed John Wooden caught wind of it. One day before practice, the coach confronted several players, saving Walton for last.

PG Greg Lee foolishly and naively admitted he did partake. Wooden removed him from the team. So, when Wooden asked Walton if he smoked marijuana, his center responded, “Coach, I have no idea what you’re talking .”

Walton remained firm in his belief that UCLA would have beaten North Carolina State and won the title, had Lee still been on the team.

Everybody’s got stories.

Including Walton himself.

That he passed away the day after the last league game in his beloved Conference of Champions is almost too poetic.