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Mike Vourkunov: Bill Walton was a giant on the court

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May 27, 2024 4:19 pm

Mike Vourkunov: Bill Walton was a giant on the court

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen

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May 27, 2024 4:19 pm

5/27/24 - Hour 2

Happy Memorial Day.

Brian Webber talks about the passing of Bill Walton with Mike Vorkunov who is the National Business Reporter for the Athletic.

Walton was a giant on the court and will be missed.

Please check out other RES productions:

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That's dell.com slash deals. Here's Brian Weber. It is another hour of the program. An absolute delight to be with you on this Memorial Day. Appreciate Rich picking up the phone and allowing me to cover it all with you. We move quickly whenever I'm lucky enough to be in the chair, but I'll always try to create opportunities for you to get interactive. It's 844-204-7424 is the number to call.

You can hit me up on the X platform. BW Weber Weber with two B's will keep this monologue a bit more succinct. My clock management was rough. I was like Brandon Staley at the end of the game for a Chargers meltdown before he got fired. The open the program with very expansive thoughts on the Mavs and Celtics and the disappearing act of Carl Anthony towns coming up in 20 minutes. We'll say a little our first guest say hello to Mike Vorkin off longtime NBA writer now working for the athletic final segment of the program coming up at 240 Eastern time. In the next hour of the show we'll talk just a little bit of baseball because I'm a purist.

If it's Memorial Day, it's a good opportunity to put the first chunk of 30% of the regular season in perspective. Scott Miller always makes the program better. Scott also spent many years covering the grand old game. You could check out his work currently for New York Times. He's the co-author of the book 90% mental and 40 minutes because this is the football show of record and OTAs continue. Well, that's nonsensical unless players are somehow related to you and you have to drop into the facility because they're getting their work in really is more of a media driven chance now to hear from the marquee names across the NFL. Rich head coach on Friday compared his quarterback situation to orphan dogs. I feel good about that tea.

He's going to forward promote always whenever you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to defend preserve and protect Rich's outstanding brand. We spent most of the first hour talking about our takeaways of another fantastic finish between the Mavs and the T wolves. No participation trophies. You don't get a juice box or an orange wedge in pro sports and Minnesota fans is going to sting as the series ends specially because of the way in that game for the ages you took down the reigning champs in Denver coming back from the 20 point deficit in the third quarter in game seven Minnesota is going to be heard from for years to come moving forward and I don't think it's just a creation of because I know a lot of you think the media quote unquote that we have meetings we get together we read off the same talking points. If you just watched one quarter of last night's game the third quarter between the Mavs and the Timberwolves of Minnesota came back just when it was looking dire they're down by eight. It was a dunk that Anthony Edwards pulled off and he had not been dunking much in game one in game two because he was gas fatigue is real I know so many of you especially if you're working on holiday think wait a minute this guy is 22 years old in Washington how can he be tired because the playoffs are hard man. That's why we don't see these bolts from the blue make it all the way to the NBA finals and more to the point they don't win it all on their first trip. They have to create some scar tissue in the NBA postseason and if you're just looking category by category coming into the series between Dallas and Minnesota one of the obvious edges and I wasn't telling you anything hopefully you didn't know if you're looking at the playoffs.

I mean, I think Dallas had just been to the Western Conference finals couple years ago and then they had the dip last year didn't make the playoffs primarily because they tank down the stretch to protect their draft possibilities that turned out to be the first round pick Derek lively coming out of Duke. Let's hope he can be lively and I'm not just trying to come up with cheap wordplay that was tough to watch first time he's going up to defend last night. And then he gets him directly in the nether regions somehow he's able to grind through that comes back and then he catches a stray with another cat knee to his head. According to reports, he's still being monitored but no talk of the concussion protocol yet more of a neck issue.

But the fact that he's okay is just amazing. While they revamped the roster at the trade deadline and picked up Daniel Gafford who was a hero beyond Luke and Kyrie carrying the team combining 466 last night Gafford with a huge block late in the game. And then that signature dunk on the alley-oop from Luca and remember Luca was quote unquote a game time decision. I was tracking along on the X platform pregame is my job after all who am I?

Why am I being self-promoting? I'm Brian Weber in for Rich Eisen a 44204 7424 is the phone number and you can slide over to X BW Weber Weber with two B's 15 minutes from now. We'll start to have an early overview of what the NBA Finals could look like Boston versus Dallas a reminder reason I can say with a high degree of certainty. No team has ever come back from a 3 oh deficit in the history of the NBA postseason looking forward to checking in with Mike working off of the athletic. We've also never had a pair of sweeps in the conference finals, although not too long ago, and I remember because I was sitting in this very cherry year ago. Just remember Denver able to sweep the Lakers Miami had that improbable 30 series lead over Boston the Celtics game all the way back and lost game 7. So maybe that was foreshadowing for what's going on now, but given how efficient these victories could be we're going to have a lot of downtime. Now that's where rich and the crew shine because nobody's more creative than mr. Eisen Chris TJ and my pal Mike Del Tufo, but thank goodness that they have a degree of ingenuity because the NBA Finals cannot start it will not be moved irrespective of when the series end and Boston hopes.

It's closing time tonight indie until Thursday, June 6th. That's a lot of time to tap dance. So you'll be getting a lot of did Boston get a free pass to the NBA Finals by virtue of all the injuries. Let me think of the other hot take Factory submissions and I've touched on them, but hopefully I've not been that tedious or lame wordiest slot Luca and Kyrie amongst the all-time great back courts in NBA history. Well statistically they're doing things that we've not seen another duo do namely each having 30 points now in three games in this single playoff run hasn't happened in 50 years was Kyrie's decision to leave Boston.

Although it was a disaster in Brooklyn ultimately validated because he wound up in Dallas. These are shows you were about to hear coming up during the long fallow period prior to the start of the NBA Finals. Let me jump into the context of the injuries because yes, certainly the path to the finals has become much more straightforward for Boston. However, there is a thing called the regular season. They play these games for a reason now, it's primarily for the TV money and attendance but 82 games is a fairly large sample size anybody who was just watching casually knew that Boston was the best team clearly across the NBA. Remember that Cleveland game when they gagged a huge lead and because it's a body of work assessment for the Celtics because it's been a slow build and give them a great deal of credit for what they did post Kyrie.

Remember he was supposed to be the Savior. And then he decided that Brooklyn seemed much more appealing. Oh yeah, we're gonna have our own big three Katie Kyrie and hard we're going to get our own coach. It doesn't matter if Steve Nash doesn't have any coaching experience. We're really going to coach as a team.

And we know how that worked out. Stephen Smith is a shrewd businessman, excellent orator, but he's also filling a ton of time with all of the shows he's on and I felt like it was a throwaway line when they were talking on that unwatchable morning show about why does quote unquote Chandler Brown not get more respect and that came down to a couple things he was not named to any of the all NBA teams and that was directly before he exploded for not only the three in the closing seconds of regulation in that wild finish to game one as Indy got very tight in my opinion show but then he backed it up with 40 in game two and Stephen a quoted an unnamed executive saying that well some of the issues in terms of perception for Jalen Brown is that he thinks he's better than other people in the NBA that he carries himself in an off putting way so now you got Isaiah Thomas, the old one not the guy from you dub piling on on social media saying name your sources Brown now getting involved because NBA Twitter, NBA x is a whole universe unto itself out there. But if you're thinking about the Celtics and the good fortune coming their way with the reminder, they've been doing it lately without poor zinc us. So if we're going to talk about injuries we have to be accurate, because you can make the argument that what poor zinc is brought them during the regular season is a huge component to having the 64 wins, and it feels like saying goodbye to Marcus smart was addition by subtraction, because he was just too intense he ran too hot, especially when the games got tight. You bring in Drew holiday, who showed again on Saturday night. Just what a magician he is defensively that late steel. I know Rick Carlisle still wants it to be called a block but Rick's made enough blunders on his own in this series that he's got nothing to talk about.

But it was the Andrew nevard show with a wonderful performance filled in for Tyrese Halliburton who all signs point to being unavailable again with a hamstring injury. They are close to the bench. They are blowing Boston out. They led by 18 in the first half had a big lead early in the third quarter, and the Pacers should have grabbed that game we should be talking about those in the have the ability now with a two one deficit to make this series all the more interesting, and it didn't happen because holiday manned up, not only would that defensive stop he made a big bucket late Tatum, who I've been critical of, because I don't think he carries teams, although if you're a Boston fan, you're going to primarily say fill in guy I don't care about your opinion I get it. I'm Brian Weber in for Richardson, a four for 2047424, or you can ask me BW Weber Weber with two B's in 10 minutes we'll check in with Mike Weber is the NBA for the athletic, but the results tell the big part of the story. Tatum only have four points in the first half in game two came alive in game three with 36 out Horford of all people in the absence of poor Zingus knocking down one of the threes he's 37 years old, Boston, going 11 and two in this postseason and doing it for the majority of the last two series and exclusively in this series without poor Zingus.

If you're a Celtic hunk you're going to tell me okay. Yeah, the draw has gone our way. We didn't have to deal with Jimmy Butler, and the heat, although Miami somehow one game two on the road in Boston, didn't have to deal with Cleveland's best player Donovan Mitchell towards the end of that series although Cleveland somehow one game two on the road in Boston you see a pattern going Celtics certainly have benefited from a battered opponent, but two things can be equally true, yes, injuries have gone their way. Remember still no poor Zingus as I'm telling you the story, but unless you think that Boston lacks the clutch gene, or if you want to get in the matchups. And let's just say it's Dallas and Boston because it would take the world coming off its access.

It seems like for that not to be the case. If poor Zingus is not 100% he's going to have 10 days of rest potentially. What does Boston do on the interior against Dallas, who changed everything in the paint with the drafting of lively let's hope he's okay Boston knocked in the head by one of cats knees last night, Daniel gafford who's been absolutely a major difference maker especially last night on both ends of the floor memory 610 PJ Washington, while he's been showing off his perimeter skills can take it down into the lane of the city.

So, that's one thing to file away. And then secondly, how does Boston want to divide the defensive responsibilities of trying to match up with both Luca and Kyrie, because unless they can clone Drew holiday he can only play one of them, unless they want to go home and now I'm getting deep in the weeds, more zone concepts, but it feels like the Celtics are overdue for this kind of run, because just go back a handful of years ago, when perhaps like Minnesota is this year. They're ahead of schedule Pacers certainly ahead of schedule, they blew that entire franchise up. They went all in to get Halliburton they gave up an all star and some bonus, the rare deal that's worked very well for both teams, Indiana hadn't made the playoff run since 2020 if you think about how injuries have helped them know Yanis at all, taken out Milwaukee, Dame banged up didn't show up towards the end of that series, then you move on to the War of Indiana versus New York, the entire Nick roster felt like it should have been a walking cast.

Anytime I mentioned the Knicks feels like whoever's left is going to turn an ankle. And then, Indiana came into the series against Boston with the knowledge that pours Angus had already been ruled out the first two games of the series, Minnesota couldn't take advantage of it because closing is the hardest thing to do in this league. Minnesota is finding that out in a hard way. Minnesota had the lead at halftime the first two games Minnesota has been in all of these games. You're looking at the overall tally 30 Dallas on top of the T wolves, and you're not watching the games.

You're missing out on high drama. The combined overall score separating the Mavs and the Timberwolves is just 13 points. Minnesota had major opportunities to win last night.

If you're a T wolf fan or just somebody who enjoys greatness, it was outstanding to see Anthony Edwards show up the way he did in the third quarter with that poster ization of Gafford, but once more, Minnesota didn't have anybody to support and to finally delivered in the way we have seen him do so consistently in the regular season, because their second best player Carl Anthony towns has been an absolute no show. And I'm not hammering a guy when he's down. I'm just telling it like it is. Guy went all of eight from three point range.

How about this? When you're over six, maybe you stop shooting threes. I know the entire league now is based on three point shooting. But when you know it's not your night and candidly, it ain't been his series.

Stop being a gunner because there's no way in hell. Minnesota had a shot last night, even though it was tight within two minutes and Lucas out there on one leg. Remember that shot? He hit crazy circus shot. They're all seemingly right out of boredom and Bailey for Luca was about two minutes to go. Minnesota's got a chance, but they just don't have enough because Dallas is a better team.

And nobody has a better team than the Boston Celtics, as the regular season standings reflect. I'm Brian Weber in for Rich Eisen. 844204. 7424 is the number to call. You can X me.

Head over to what used to be known as Twitter. The handles B. W. Weber. Weber would to be so coming up, we'll say hello to our first guest. Will it be closing time tonight in Indy? We're on the brink of a pair of sweeps and looking ahead. What could be the X factor in the NBA finals?

Looks like I'm not crowning anybody, but it certainly has a strong lean towards Boston versus Dallas. We'll cover it all with Mike Vorkinov of the athletic. That's next.

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Power dot com slash awards only at a sleep number store or sleep number dot com. Welcome back to the Rich Eisen Show radio network. I'm Brian Weber and I'm sitting at the Rich Eisen Show desk, furnished by Grainger with supplies and solutions for every industry. Grainger has the right product for you.

Call click Grainger dot com or just stop by. In a moment, we'll get NBA analysis when we check in with Mike Vorkanov of the Athletic First. I have to pass along some very sad news. Within the last 10 minutes, the NBA releasing a statement. Two time NBA champion and Hall of Famer Bill Walton has passed away at the age of 71. Bill, a remarkable talent going back to being the most highly sought after high school player coming out of San Diego, going on to have the brilliant career at UCLA.

Fortunately, dealt with primarily issues with his feet. But remember the brilliant championship run in Portland, then reinvented himself as a six man with the Celtics and then transformed himself into a larger than life personality. As a broadcaster, I worked with Bill at Pac-12 Networks, never had the pleasure of calling a game with them. But being around him, his exuberance and his passion for life and basketball was truly unique. And with that, let's bring in Mike Vorkanov.

Mike, I'm sorry to have to pass along the news if you hadn't seen it. And I'll talk about the Celtics and the Mavs coming up. But let's start with your general reaction to the passing of an icon and Bill Walton.

I mean, it's it's very sad. I never got a chance to see him play, but he obviously was a giant on the court. You know, that seventy six seventy seven Blazers team is still so I feel like beloved and not only Portland, but remembered so fondly across the league. And obviously he won MVP playing fifty eight games the next season, which kind of speaks to how dominant he was right as we have all this talk about sixty five game rules and all that stuff like he won it while dominating the league in fifty eight games. And then he he kind of reanimated his career after injuries robbed him of so many games and so much time when he went back and became a reserve with that eighty five eighty six Celtics team. I think he even went to law school with a clipper.

He did. So like he's a he was a true kind of a Renaissance man. And to me, like I'll always remember him for his media stuff. I love watching him on TV. I love hearing him call games just because he was so irreverent. I needed he wasn't stuffy about basketball. He seemed like he had so much fun, which is how I think most people want to watch the game and how I want to watch the game. So I always love that about him whenever he was on TV and just how much fun and how silly he would be and just not, you know, not care about doing things the same exact way and treating things so seriously. And so it's very sad to see that he passed away.

Mike, I'm in my early 50s. I'll take you back maybe before your time of watching the NBA on NBC, before Walton became the persona that we saw in the last 10 years, calling college basketball games with the tie dye and all of the remarkable references. He worked with Steve Snapper Jones and they were the best tandem because they played off of each other.

And it's just so interesting to see in retrospect, a series of chapters in life. So as you said, and great context on that series with the Sixers, you'll recall that Philly had the early lead. And that's Dr. J and George McGinnis comes all the way back with the Celtics. And I can't think of somebody if we're talking body of work and Kareem's in his own category because of social justice. But the college career, Bill is arguably one of the top 10 college basketball players of all time. You throw in the NBA titles, a pair of them.

Hall of Fame is all inclusive. And then the broadcasting work. I can't think of anyone who had that kind of unique impact on basketball. No, I mean, he was so different and so out there and so good at everything he did from basketball to the broadcasting stuff that it's, it's hard to match him on both, both sides of it right on both sides of his career, the media and the basketball stuff. And so, you know, personally, I'll just miss him like at a time now where especially everything is so how do I describe this, everything about basketball coverage on TV can be like so loud, and so annoying at times, and so self serious, where Bill whenever he came on, even when it was the college basketball games that he called, you just knew you were gonna have fun for that time.

Yeah, and throw it down big man and amazing phrases gone way too soon. So I'm going to continue to have more thoughts on the life and times of Bill Walton coming up as we're reacting to the breaking news. I'm Brian Weber in for rich eyes and always a pleasure to talk basketball with Mike working off of the athletic.

Mike no easy transition to make but I'll follow up on your thought about the annoying coverage and go down that road. Because now the framing of Luca and Kyrie, and I'm not taking anything away from them. They have been historic, each going for 30 points individually now three times in the same postseason. Should we though pump the brakes, a little bit. Could there be a degree of overreaction to say where do they rank amongst the greatest back courts of all time.

Oh yeah, totally. I mean this is all like caught in the moment type of stuff I mean now you're having a great playoff run. We'll see if they win an NBA title or not it's obviously to, you know, to really good basketball players Luca is, you know, if he keeps us up is gonna be an all time great Kyrie Irving is one of the more skilled basketball players of his generation and so if they're able to stay long enough, stay together long enough do this for a long enough period. They should be put into that conversation but for now it's all kind of prisoner the moment type of stuff right as they're going on their way to an NBA finals, very, very likely.

I'm Brian Weber, in for Rich Eisen we're taking you across the NBA postseason with Mike working off of the athletic. Hey Mike looking back, Nico Harrison knew something we didn't and he should because he's the GM of the Mavs and knows that roster but can you think of a series of what felt like marginal moves at the time, prior to the deadline that have been more impactful in recent years than the Mavs picking up both PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford who was sensational last night. No, I mean they really did such like an unheralded job at the, you know, at the time obviously refurbishing that team I like those moves but I didn't think like it was the type of stuff that was gonna make them into an NBA finals type of team right. I didn't see that coming, but they, he deserves a lot of credit that whole front office deserves a lot of credit they you know the previous trade deadline in 2023. They took a chance on Kyrie Irving when he was a pariah at that time for all the stuff that he went that went down in Brooklyn and those of his doing, and they made that trade and look it's gotten to them gotten them to within a game of the NBA season so I think some of the decisions may be on either controversial at the time, or underappreciated at the time have really all worked out and it's put them on the precipice, you know, possibly the maverick second title in in 13 years, as we think about Minnesota certainly ahead of schedule and what a transcendent run it's been for Anthony Edwards just 22 years old, although I keep reminding the audience Lucas only 25 feels like we've known him for so long because he came over at such a young age. I want to fall victim to what we were just both critiquing with knee jerk instant analysis and I know the body of work for currently towns but his inability to show up in this series.

Is that a cautionary tale from Minnesota moving forward if this team is going to win a championship. Do they need a legitimate second star alongside Anthony Edwards. You know, that's really hard to say because I, you know, part of it is fit to write and cat is so good next Anthony Edwards because he's a great shooter, and he can play long as I really go there because that shooting because he, they can still have the ability to be out there to space the floor and defend the rim at the same time and be big and physical, and with Jade McDaniel, you know they're like such a, it really enhances their defense right even though Pat isn't necessarily a great defender by himself. Part of this whole equation for me is always if you trade them. Are you going to be able to bring in someone better right.

And I think that's a big question. And this is their first, you know their first long playoff run. And I think it's in especially in the playoffs experience does matter and we weren't saying that's like type of stuff about cat after game seven against Denver right and so maybe it's just one bad playoff series for him. The fit is, you know, obviously it's a question that's been around for the last year and a half for Minnesota it's gonna be a question for them, going to next year to just because of the finances and I think they're gonna be bumping up against the second half as well but if you make that trade and it's not for financial reasons the question to me is always, who can you get, and will they be better than the TV have right now and the player that you're trading away and I think that's gonna be hard to do, talking hoops of Mike working off of the athletic for a few more minutes so Mike whenever Boston closes out, Andy, as soon as tonight and Dallas can get it done tomorrow. They've never had a pair of sweeps in the same postseason in both conference finals meaning, as you know, finals are locked in, they will not start until June six so with all the additional rest for Kristoff's porzingis to heal and try to get in shape coming back from that lingering nagging calf injury, based on the matchup with Dallas and their bigs, do you think porzingis even at 75% is going to have more of an impact offensively or defensively when he comes back? You know, I, I think it's going to be defensively that's where he's had the impact all season long, you know, he's kind of the anchor of that defense even with True Holiday and Jalen Brown and Derek White there, and especially if Dallas is healthy and Derek Lively is able to play in the finals. You're going to need someone to be able to switch to wall off the paint against Kyrie and Luca and the lobs. There's a lot to do if you're, if you're a really elite defensive big man, especially against a team like Dallas like we've seen Rudy Gobert struggle at times right and so the value Kristoff's porzingis and what he can bring defensively. It's gonna be so important for them I think more so than the offensive side just because they Boston has other options on offense that they can go to they have Tatum they have Brown they have True Holiday can create for himself although not always efficiently they have Derek White right, but they only have one guy who can do what he does on defense and really protect the paint the way that he does and so I'm really curious if he is healthy enough to play how many minutes he can play because it's really it's really hard to just miss two straight rounds in the playoffs and come back and play like 30 minutes a night.

Yeah, it would be almost unprecedented but we've seen so many strange things in this postseason. Finally, I'm going to talk about the Lakers coaching opening coming up in the last hour the program I want to be balanced not overlook Cleveland feels like JB bigger staff got a raw deal although your colleagues in the athletic had that long insightful piece about the dysfunction within the Cavs organization. How good of a job is that for whoever they hire next. I mean, it's definitely pretty interesting right, you have, you have a obviously you're going to get that job and you're going to have a need to win right away I think Kobe all the made that clear when he explained his thinking on firing JB bigger staff last week. But it's also a young team so there's room to grow it's, it's, you know, there's few jobs like that but I don't think you come into that job thinking okay, making the playoffs is enough winning one round is enough because the Cavs just fired JB bigger staff for doing just that right so they're expecting longer playoff run, especially they can keep Donovan Mitchell.

I think that there's a lot of pressure there to win right away but how many other teams can you take how many other jobs can you take where you have like three all stars are three almost all stars on the team right away and have that opportunity so it's you know you have to bring in a coach who sees it more as an opportunity than the pressure and I think that most coaches do think about that one. Mike always a pleasure greatly appreciate the insights and thanks so much for offering your thoughts on the passing and the real sad news today that we've lost Bill Walton, at the age of 71 Thanks Mike. Thanks, Brian, Mike vork enough. Excellent perspective as always and great to have the opinion of someone who knows the NBA as well as he does as the basketball world continues to react to the very sad news today, issued through NBA communication so it's an official statement, Bill Walton gone at the age of 71 two time NBA champion Hall of Famer iconic college basketball career at UCLA so to call an audible I mentioned, this is the football show of record but riches back tomorrow and he can handle all of his takeaways from OTAs across the league, based on the breaking news. Well, pivot towards more thoughts on the life and times of Bill Walton.

I love basketball history I love basketball, as much or more than the NBA. I mentioned, never worked with Mr Walton but I was lucky to be in the room with him on a handful of occasions and he was exactly who you wanted him to be so we'll continue to reflect on the very sad news that Bill Walton has gone at the age of 71. I'm Brian Weber we're live on this Memorial Day in for rich Eisen. This is the rich Eisen show.

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If my words did glow with the gold sunshine. Excellent work by our technical producer Curtis grateful dead as an homage to. Now the late Bill Walton, I'm Brian Weber in for rich as in a four four 2047424 number to call you can ask me B W Weber Weber with two B's reacting to the breaking news that I brushed across 25 minutes ago, and the statement released by the NBA now officially 29 minutes ago so a thanks primarily to rich for having a host on a holiday. Understand the economics were in a challenging time in our industry.

But if you play tape and you have a best of don't have the ability to react in real time. In addition to all the NBA talk we've already had takeaways about what went down last night between Los Angeles and Minnesota looking ahead to tonight with Boston trying to close out the sweep of indie just have a strong NBA conversation with Mike Vorkin off of the athletic real time analysis of Rafael Nadal saying goodbye to Roland Garros as he was swept in two straight sets today by Alexander's of Arab in the first round and then the announcement from the league that truly one of the faces and voices in his unique way of the NBA Bill Walton has passed away at the age of 71. I mentioned, and I'm going to do a little bit too much autobiographical don't like to say I try to say we and talk about general concepts but as someone who was lucky to work for the PAC 12, and are now soon to be defunct network for 11 years. Anytime there was a big function for the conference, Bill Walt was there because nobody loved the conference of champions and he said it because it's also accurate more national championships, produced by the PAC 12 than any other conference and Bill goes back to the days of the PAC eight when UCLA was stacking national championships in Westwood, but he had such a complete devotion to our conference and really reflected his zest for life. And I know at times, it felt like he could be over the top, and there were times when I was watching a Stanford basketball game because I went there a million years ago and half of me is thinking, Bill I don't need the Jerry Garcia monologue now and then I would have to ask myself saying, What are you a moron, nobody else can do this. Nobody else has that perspective, because he lived such a rich life, because he hung out with those dudes, because he did and saw just about everything, and the fact that he became a broadcaster is all the more incredible, because if you know anything about his backstory, he overcame a serious stutter. He hated public speaking so you grow up, you're the tallest kid in high school, you're not comfortable speaking because what's the old line about the greatest phobia that everyone has that you know that they'd rather take their chances with a plane that might not land that have to get up in front of a room filled with strangers and give a public speech, Bill had that kind of adversity to overcome.

And he did it in magnificent fashion. There was no one quite like him, especially if you want to combine the NBA and college experience when Bill I mentioned it with Mike forking off because I grew up with the ascendance of the NBA I go back to Magic and Bird and my dad who coincidentally we lost a year ago today so I'm thinking about a lot of things right now, but my dad went to Michigan State so he was a magic guy, and then being a sports fan in my formative years when Bill would show up on the NBA on Sunday and work with Steve snapper Jones they had just an amazing chemistry and amazing patter they would go back and forth, not bigger than the game but it added something to the game because let's face it, not every game is as thrilling as the conclusion that we saw last night with Mavs upping their lead to three over the Timberwolves, not as remarkable as the end of the game that we saw on Saturday night in India with the Celtics getting it done coming all the way back from that 18 point deficit. Bill Walton brought just such a unique perspective, even then, with the national platform he would always have the Grateful Dead ties, and then when he became in some ways bigger than the games he was covering especially on the college level, he could show up and do whatever he wanted to because he earned it and because his passion was so organic. There was nothing about Bill Walton in my opinion just being in general settings with him. That was anything less than genuine.

It was morally transparent before we even use that word. And let's not overlook what he meant on the floor at UCLA with their dominant run, and what 70 ish game winning streak, ending on the road and Notre Dame, all national championships coming in the wake of Kareem so that's pretty good recruiting and we know UCLA had some advantages back in the day, but to go from Lou Alcindor to Bill Walton made John Wooden, and he was the first to admit it, the Wizard of Westwood. Bill winds up in the NBA Portland.

Talk about serendipity, such a perfect fit for his iconoclastic personality remember bill also very vocal opposing the Vietnam War and he had wouldn't had some clashes about things as mundane as cutting his hair and then of course reconciliation, as they both got older. Let's not overlook before the series of foot injuries, slowed him down. Bill Walton at the early stages of his NBA career was a dominant center in Portland. He was 677 rip city blazers beat the Sixers in that final. Then unfortunately he just cannot stay healthy stepped away from the game as Mike pointed out he attended some law school classes and my alma mater so imagine being in Palo Alto and here comes a man sitting in on your contract law class comes all the way back and was a valuable six men for the Celtics winning his second ring there, then has an entirely different chapter. There might be young people who don't even know that he played basketball now I think you could discern it because whenever you're on camera. He was bigger than all of his colleagues, and he had such, unfortunately, challenging back issues that he would have to go to school make sure he could sit up in the proper place to keep his spine, a line, but there will never be another Bill Walton, and you think about the basketball family with his son Luke who played at Arizona and to the NBA and coach Bill Walton because he was just a giant in every sense of the word. And it was a time in which we didn't have the artifice of social media, we didn't have the crafting of a public image, Bill Walton did not have handlers. He was truly himself, and that shine through in every forum every setting every room he entered, and every game he called, and just on a personal note as somebody who cared about the Pac 12 and look wall be find them.

I'll pretend I love the big 10 starting in four months if they pay me. Nobody cared about that conference more than Bill Walton, and if you didn't love the Pac 12 I'm sure became annoying because he would opine about the conference of champions and every one of his bracket ology projections would have four Pac 12 teams in the final four, but that was part of his chart, because he lets you know who he was, and he was on a bashed being himself so very sad and shocking news, only 71 and think about what it means now for his family and what it means for the basketball family to lose an iconic personality, and a wonderful person like Bill Walton, just terribly sad news now. I'm not going to be the guy on the radio saying Bill would want us to have a party but I bet we can find something with Bill talking about well when I'm gone, play the dead and go out and live your life because that individual lived his life as fully as possible, and dealt with real adversity. It cannot be easy to be among the most dominant college basketball players we have ever seen, and then be viewed as a bust at the age of 26, when your body betrays you, and to keep on battling and he talked openly about having issues with depression before that was mainstream and before most men were comfortable talking about that kind of challenge, but he believed in himself, and he let other people in there was a generosity and I know, television producers who've worked with him. And they all said, Hey, I'm doing the game but I'm doing it with Bill and and the game within the game was even more fascinating because of the production meetings or because Bill would say, you know what, we're not going to shoot around today to hear another cliche from a college coach, we're going on a hike, or we're going to go find the best diner in this town, because he realized, and you never want to say well this puts things in perspective that's so trite but tomorrow's not promised for any of us. And 71 is way too young, especially for someone who lived his life as fully as Bill Walt, you want to talk about sucking the marrow out of life as the romantic poets used to describe I'm getting deep now Bill would appreciate it it's a literary reference.

Nobody had the same perspective on basketball as Bill Walton, and when he was engaged, he could break it down in ways that other people couldn't because he just saw the sport differently so a major loss, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family as the NBA continues to react to the passing of Bill Walton, he's gone at the age of 71, and I'll continue to incorporate more thoughts on his remarkable life and legacy as we move into the final hour of the program will also talk in advance of Boston Dallas in the NBA finals. How much of an edge could the math have in the paint that's coming up I'm Brian Weber in Verizon. This is the rich eyes and show.

We get it. They have chemistry jump in now or catch up on any of the past seasons of talk Ville on YouTube, or wherever you listen. john brings his skewed sense of humor, Jeff brings tips to cut strokes off your next round together. It's those weekend golf guys, they'll pay a lot of money to pxg and Tylus and Calloway and how many yards you think you're gonna pick up with that extra I think I need an extra five to 10, what if I give you 15 to 20. Those weekend golf guys the podcast part of the belief network, just search BL EAV on YouTube or wherever you listen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-27 18:56:10 / 2024-05-27 19:15:45 / 20

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