I don't watch enough basketball, or know enough basketball people, to know what the hardcore fans think of Bill Walton, but I personally just think he's the best. I wouldn't necessarily want a guy with his ... special level of expertise calling a championship game or an NBA Finals (at least not now, as he called five on network television between 1995 and 2003), but I'm of the mind that sports television needs more ... let's call them "outside the box" thinkers.
OK, enough playing footsy around this, Bill Walton sounded like he was out of his mind at certain times last night, and it was wonderful. During a Washington-Oregon game, a heated Pac-12 tournament battle on ESPNU, the legendary basketball analyst was cracking jokes on one of the newest ESPN personalities and another who recently got himself into some trouble with the company.
First, there were Walton's comments on a taped bit of various Pac-12 mascots and cheerleaders getting out of a limousine.
Walton's exact words: "I was way in the back with Ray Lewis and it was unbelievable how much fun, oh my gosh, how many people were in there!" While Walton at no point implies any sort of foul play, I think we all kind of know what he's getting at here.
As if that weren't enough, later in the same half Walton had more material about the recent suspension of Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons.
"If we're gonna suspend Bill Simmons, anything is possible." That's greatness right there people, and the knowledge that you are untouchable. Because, really, how's ESPN gonna' respond to this? They're going to suspend or fire a basketball legend who just came back after struggling with severe back problems for years and is, by most accounts, having a great comeback at that? Bravo to Bill Walton. While the Ray Lewis joke might've been a little much, the guy isn't afraid to just be himself whenever he broadcasts a game. You may get a few loopy things from time to time (though really, the Simmons thing is quite reasonable) you're almost always going to be entertained.