With just under 10 minutes left in the Sacramento Kings' eventual 117-103 road win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, Sacto guard Tyreke Evans used a pick at the 3-point line to split the defenders, attack the basket, and finish a very athletic 360 layup over defender Michael Beasley. It was the sort of difficult, flashy play that caused so many people to have high hopes for Evans when he won the Rookie of the Year award in 2010. It was also the Kings' second consecutive road win, which hopefully adds some joy to their fans' lives as they deal with the franchise's uncertain future.
This play is not on BDL for any of the reasons listed above. Instead, we bring it to your attention because NBA legend and occasional Kings broadcaster Bill Walton celebrated the play with a bit of characteristic hyperbole:
A thing of beauty. ... Einstein! Da Vinci! Jobs! And now Tyreke Evans!
Yes, Walton compared Evans to some of history's greatest innovators and geniuses because of an acrobatic layup against one of the NBA's worst teams. What, your reaction was different?
If you're familiar with Walton's work as an announcer, you know that he indulges in this sort of commentary all the time as simultaneous praise and mockery. In the past, Walton has compared Boris Diaw to Beethoven, claimed that Eric Piatkowski had a chance to replace Jerry West as the NBA logo, and suggested that Vladimir Radmanovic was reminiscent of one of Michelangelo's sculptural masterworks.
The Evans comment is a part of that tradition, but that doesn't mean Walton's schtick is tired or any less hilarious (to those, like me, who liked him to begin with). As my friend David Roth wrote recently in reference to Walton's college basketball work, Walton stands out for the way he turns his commentary into a funhouse reflection of the form itself, exposing the ridiculousness of every announcer who takes every cliche seriously or acts as if basketball shouldn't be fun. For Walton, a basketball game is an opportunity to present free-associative thoughts on the world as inspired by the sport. They're not always serious, or even particularly nice, but they're impossible to ignore.
I mean, do any of you have any idea what Walton was talking about before this clip starts, when he finishes a thought by asking "What would Newton and Galileo say?" I don't, because it could have been anything. Maybe he wants DeMarcus Cousins to explore the cosmos!