William Theodore "Bill" Walton III is an American retired basketball player and television sportscaster. Walton achieved superstardom playing for John Wooden's powerhouse UCLA Bruins in the early '70s, winning three successive College Player of the Year Awards, while leading the Bruins to two Division I national titles. He then went on to have a prominent career in the National Basketball Association where he was a league Most Valuable Player and won two NBA championships. His professional career was significantly hampered by multiple foot injuries. Walton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 10, 1993 and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame that same year. He is the father of former professional basketball player Luke Walton.
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Hi I'm Bill Walton. I am a retired basketball player-turned-sportscaster and I am solar advocate for NRG Home Solar. Learn what I'm doing for Earth Hour (March 28th) and what you can do also. Here's a video live from my solar powered teepee:
I played for John Wooden on the UCLA Bruins, winning two Division 1 national titles. I then played in the NBA, won 2 Championships and was an MVP.
I love my bike, I love my dog Cortez, I love my wife Lori, and I love the sun!
Thanks everybody, I gotta go, there's a volcano about to erupt and I have to go make sure that Cortez and the teepee are going to be okay. Thanks for your patience. We will see you on the other side. Pray for better weather and more shows.
What is the story behind being milked?
It's the most pleasurable experience in the world! When you're on a great team and you get hot, your teammates milk you dry - they wear you out and there's nothing like being on a great team. When you're on a bad team and you get hot, they freeze you out because they figure they have to get theirs before the game's over. Never forget - happiness ends when selfishness begins. I love being hot and there's nothing in the world like being milked.
This answer exceeded my wildest dreams.
There is nothing like a wild dream. Chase your dream. Make your dream reality, make your dream your life, make your dream you job and somehow find a way to get milked.
Why hasn’t CBS asked you and Charles Barkley to announce the entirety of March Madness together?
I love CBS. I got my national start in broadcasting from CBS 25 years ago and a lot of great friends and heroes helped build CBS. I strongly encourage everyone to read David Halberstam's 'The Powers That Be', and learn the history of this incredible company from Bill Paley, Edward R. Morrow, Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Bob Scheiffer, and all the current guys who are carrying the torch. The torch of freedom, information, entertainment, the torch of "We're going to do something to make this world better".
Have you ever been to a volcano when its erupting?
We were on tour with the Grateful Dead in Oregon. They were playing the show and they start playing Fire on the Mountain. The volcano next door, Mt. Helens, blows up. When the show was over a bunch of us raced to the airport and boarded a plane. We told people at the airport we were scientists studying atmospheric conditions and the effect of smoke and volcanic explosions on the human spirit, so the pilot was terrified, but we convinced him to fly right into the smoking crater with fire and lava everywhere. He wanted to go home but we were on a scientific mission and we kept getting closer and closer. As we were flying around inside the erupting volcano, the military jets scrambled from the local base and come up there to get us out of there. It was a real dogfight but we had the spirit of Cortez on our side. We eventually left and when we landed at the airport the pilot was most relieved as we quickly fled and went back to the rest of the tour.
A few years ago I went up to you in a coffee shop to ask for an autograph for my uncle, another Bruin and a huge fan of yours. You were so kind to me and had some really inspirational things to say that I still think back on. Thank you for being such an approachable and genuine person.
My question is, what do you order at In-N-Out?
More. I love the In-N-Out.
How Luke doing? What's he up to?
Luke is now on the coaching staff of the hottest team of the NBA, the Golden State Warriors. If he's not having the time of his life in that situation, than I have failed as a father. Luke is living in the Bay Area, happily married to his sweetheart Bre and they have a brand new young baby. Luke's baby's name is Lawson.
1) do you think the NCAA should switch to a 30 second shot clock to improve the pace of games?
2) do you think Pac12 refs call fouls constantly because they want to hang out with you for longer?
2) No. I love the refs, please check out my website - ilovetherefs.org, it's a charity.
Will Dave Pasch be dropping by?
Do you think you could beat Abraham Lincoln in a knife fight?
I'm all about peace and love. We were just with Ringo the other night and he reinforced my longstanding commitment and dedication to those ideals. I like to win and I play to win. Coach Wooden's 2 favorite people on Earth were Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa. I used to love the tales that Coach Wooden would tell of he and Young Abe growing up together in the Midwest.
It's Dave right?
Who were your favorite players to play with/against?
Any time you are on a Championship Team - those guys are your best friends for life. The greatest player I ever played against, by far, is Kareem. The greatest player I ever played with was Larry Bird. The greatest teammate was Maurice Lucas.The most dynamic, vibrant, exhilarating player I played against was Dr. J. The greatest venues were wherever the greatest teams were, or where the Grateful Dead were playing the night before or the next after.
Will Cortez be available for questions? Perhaps via Vine?
Cortez has a very busy schedule. http://imgur.com/gallery/LWKI6QN
Mr. Walton, first off thank you for doing this AMA. During an Oregon-USC broadcast earlier this year you called Michael Jordan 'average' & later went on to say that he is not a top 3 player of all time. I was curious who in your opinion are the top 3 players of all time?
I did not call Michael Jordan average, I said Michael Jordan is average size, strength, speed, and jumping ability. The top 7 players of the history of basketball in chronological order are Bill Russell, Wilt, Oscar, Kareem, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan. I have no problem with you disagreeing with what I say, but please make sure it's what I say, not what you think I said. When everybody thinks alike, nobody thinks. It's ok to disagree, just don't be disagreeable. I'm all about peace and love, I'm about freedom and independence, I am about freedom of choice. I stand behind what I say. I believe what I say and I speak from the heart.
One of the problems in mass communication is that when somebody will come up to me and say "Bill, my brother's father's nephew's cousin's mother in law's maid's, gardner's postman said that you said that they heard from the grocery store clerk that you said this about that", it all gets very confusing. Just listen to the music play and please challenge me on what I say, not what you think I said or what somebody else told you about what they heard about what somebody else thought they heard. Or maybe you should ask that guy "Dave, right?" Bc he's sitting right there and he didn't hear it either.
Hi, Mr. Walton!
What is your opinion on paying college athletes?
Also, which accomplishment are you most proud of: being part of the UCLA/John Wooden national championship legacy, being national college player of the year and the number one NBA Draft pick, winning an NBA championship with the Portland Trail Blazers, or having a son who also became an NBA player?
Thank you for doing this AMA!
I'm for anything and everything that helps the quality of life of the players, the people that are creating the product, and there has to be a modernization of everything. Focus on the quality of the product that encompasses the players receiving adequate consideration for their efforts and contributions. That includes the value of their scholarship, the quality of their life and the rules, restrictions and limitations that they live, play, and work under. Those rules should be standardized across the board for everyone involved in the business of sports, including administrators, executives, coaches, employees and players. Let's make it real, fair, current, let's make it modern, and authentic. We're all in this together.
I'm a Team guy, I always have been a Team guy, and I learned that from the culture I grew up in that came from my parents, coaches, teachers, heroes and role models - particularly Bill Russell. I played to win. I am uncomfortable in a world of individual agendas. I am a team guy that is uncomfortable with the indvidulization of our lives because that minimizes and trivializes everyone's individual contributions. No one makes it to the top of the mountain alone. Refer back to Oscarveli's question about how I feel about ranking or rating. As a parent of 4 children, I want what's best for our children. I want their dreams to come true. I want them to be happy, healthy, and to have the greatest lives possible, I am the luckiest and proudest dad in the whole world.
What was it like to have your hair catch on fire in Little Nicky?
It was easily one of the most exhilarating moments of my life and I rank that right up with the night that Adam Sandler at Neil Young's Bridge School concert personally sang "The 7 foot man" to me and 30,000 of my closest friends.
I peaked when I was 17 years old at 6'11. That night with Adam and Neil at Shoreline was right after my spine surgery 6 years ago. When Adam and Neil were singing, that's the closest I've ever been to 7 feet tall. Thanks for making me stand tall and proud on your side.
Is the Solar Teepee your man cave? Where might I acquire said teepee? For a friend.......
I love my teepee, I love my bike, I love Cortez, I love my jacuzzi, I love Lori. You can always come check our teepee out - never a problem, but if you want your own, go to tipi.com. As for my great friend Jeb, tell him you're a friend of mine. Open your heart, open your mind, open your spirit and soul, and let the sun shine in. I am a human solar panel. I love my teepee - I used to live in it until I married Lori. Her idea of camping is when the Ritz Carlton goes to a limited menu at 4am.
Bill, huge fan! I have always wanted to ask you this question. If you died tomorrow and went to some sort of heaven/afterlife what would you do first, go see Jerry, Pig pen, Jimi, Janis etc play music?
Or watch/play BBall with dean smith/john wooden coaching some of the great deceased NBA players over the years (Jerome Kersey, Anthony Mason, Earl Loyd, Kevin Duckworth, etc..)?
I would do it all. All I ever wanted in life was more. Ive had the honor and privilege of knowing all of these people in this life. I am reminded of Huey Long's last breath when he said, lying on his death bed after being gunned down because of his beliefs and his efforts to make the world better, he looked up at the physicians and staff members and said "Please God, don't let me die. There's so much more to do." I am 62 years old and I am just getting started.
Please read T. Harry Williams epic book "Huey Long".
Mr. Walton how did you get involved in Solar? Did you approach NRG to be a spokesperson or did they come after you with a bunch of money?
Please, my name is Bill. I connected with NRG through my great friends at Roth Capital, and I am a lifelong believer in solar. Solar energy is the biggest no-brainer in the history of the world. When I became aware of Kelcy Pegler, when I became aware of David Crane, and all the incredible people at NRG and their initiatives to make our world better, to focus on the critical elements in a world full of challenges, NRG production and resource management...What NRG, David, Kelcy and our team are doing, it's a dream come true for me. People who chose to make a positive difference - people who care about our world, our fellow human beings, the plants, the animals and all the living organisms that make up our universe, this is the most important thing in the world. We got Earth Hour coming up March 28th, 8:30 PM local time, Earth Day coming up April 22nd. I am proud, honored and humbled to be on the NRG Team. I have been on some of the greatest teams ever - UCLA, Portland Trailblazers, Boston Celtics, Grateful Dead - now I am on the NRG Team and we're going to do everything we can to make everything better. I stand tall and proud - I am with those guys. What I want to know is - are you kind, and will you come with me?
Which coach did the most to elevate your talents- John Wooden, Dr. Jack, or K.C. Jones?
I grew up under the umbrella of John Wooden. Every coach I had as a child was a John Wooden disciple and then I had the privilege and honor for playing for John Wooden. I played my best basketball with the Portland Trailblazers. Jack Ramsey made me the best player I ever was, and K.C. Jones, Red Auerbach, Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics, they did not just give me my career back, they gave me my life back. I thank them all. I just wish that I could have done more for them in return. In life, our mission is to search for, find, and learn from the master teachers. I am the luckiest guy in the world. I played for Coach Wooden, Jack Ramsey, and K.C. Jones - who was so good, the Grateful Dead wrote a song about him. We love those guys and we would do anything for them. That's when you know you're on a really special team.
What was the biggest moment of your career?
The greatest moment of my basketball career was when I beat Kevin McHale 1 on 1 in front of the entire Celtic family in June of 1986.
I should've played him for his number the day I got there. I'll leave numbers up to that guy Dave, right?
What is your favorite Grateful Dead album?
I am into the concerts, so I love all of Dick's picks, all of Dave's picks, all of the live releases. It's all one song, it's all one concert, and I'll be in Chicago - and anywhere else they show up to play. I have learned now over the course of my 62 years to never rank concerts, coaches, children, championships and congratulations. Just enjoy them all and pray for more.