Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Everybody Loves The Big Red-Head: Bill Walton

Walton: Amusing, annoying
By Marc Narducci
Inquirer Staff Writer

As a college star at UCLA and an NBA player on two championship teams, Walton had a noticeable stuttering problem and was not very engaging when it came to dealing with members of the media.

Now the 53-year-old Walton has transformed himself into a loquacious, highly opinionated, entertaining and, to some, annoying analyst for ESPN and ABC.

For Walton, a hoop-head of hyperbole, it's all about extremes

All too often, it seems, Walton will trumpet a player as the greatest in the history of the NBA. Saying somebody or something is great often isn't enough for Walton. There has to be more emphasis to the statement.

He claims two of his biggest influences are legendary UCLA coach John Wooden and the late Grateful Dead singer Jerry Garcia.


During his often-injured but sometimes-brilliant NBA career, Walton was known as one of the best passing centers in the game. On Sunday, the Sixers gave him a big assist for helping them overcome a 19-point deficit to beat the Wolves. Guard Louis Williams, watching the game in the locker room, relayed Walton's harsh comments to his teammates at halftime.

After Andre Iguodala hit an improbable game-winning shot as time expired, he talked about Walton's influence. "We had to show Bill Walton who the Sixers were," Iguodala said. "He was killing us. We had to come back and have a good second half."


Walton has always been difficult to peg. At UCLA, he was known for his individualistic thinking, and he was known to participate in protest movements. Yet he was also known as one of the best team players in the history of sports. (Oh, no, we're starting to sound like Walton.)

For the full article go to: Philly.com


(photo credit: uclabruins.collegesports.com)


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