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Eric Freeman

Bill Walton returns to TV broadcasts in a blaze of glory

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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The NBA announcing landscape is generally a dull world, full of self-righteous homers and people too caught up in their own catchphrases to call the games accurately. We're severely lacking in distinct personalities.

That's why you should miss Bill Walton's regular presence on the airwaves, even if (unlike me) you've never been a fan of his work. Walton works a game like none other, injecting hyperbole and an expansive knowledge of the world at-large into his commentary. He makes things interesting.

Thankfully, Walton is calling a few games this season for the Sacramento Kings' local broadcasts. He had his first assignment this weekend for the Kings-Suns game in Phoenix, and it was a doozy. Tom Ziller reports for FanHouse:

Bill did not bring a suit or any shirt with buttons to Phoenix. Walton wore a long-sleeved t-shirt to the gym to work the game; luckily, an NBA official on hand had an official NBA striped polo in a very large size for Walton to put over his long-sleeved tee. [...]

So basically, Walton is treating this gig exactly [how] most teenagers treat part-time jobs: with complete apathy.

Ah, but Walton's apathy is so much more interesting than that of the league's other announcers. Just check out this highlight, also via Ziller:

"Well that's only because Neil Young didn't play basketball." Walton responds to [Jerry] Reynolds' assertion Steve Nash(notes) is the greatest Canadian basketball player ever.

Big Red, to paraphrase your beloved Grateful Dead, let your inspiration flow in broken rhyme, suggesting rhythm.

Sadly, Walton's back and general joint pain means he can only calls games in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and other select contests via satellite, so his next broadcast will probably be Thanksgiving (unlikely, but at Clippers) or Dec. 3 (at Lakers).

It's good to have Walton back. The league needs unique personalities wherever they can get them, and he certainly qualifies as one. He's one of God's own prototypes: too weird to live, and too rare to die.

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