“Learning to speak without a stutter is without a doubt my greatest accomplishment in life…and your biggest nightmare,” said basketball legend BILL WALTON to an audience of financial professionals recently. The crowd laughed because it was 30 minutes into his 60-minute talk and they'd already discovered what Walton fans everywhere already know -- the man can talk!
As entertaining in the broadcast booth as he is a keynote speaker "Bill Walton is a national treasure," read one headline. "Walton was tapped for color commentary in Friday night’s White Sox broadcast and it was a treat for the senses," it went on to say. The Chicago White Sox tried an experiment in the broadcast booth last weekend. Regular announcer Steve Stone was taking the weekend off and the team paired Jason Benetti with four guest broadcasters, one of which was basketball legend BILL WALTON. The decision was inspired because Bill Walton lit up the online universe - becoming the #1 trending topic on Twitter that evening. Walton preceded his trip (no pun intended) to the broadcast booth with a pre-game talk to the team about the challenges of playing professional sports. It was uplifting advice from an icon who knows a thing or two on the ups and downs of a pro sports career. Bill then ambled up to the White Sox booth on the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, wearing extremely bright Sox branded tie dyed t-shirts with a mindset to match. Benetti knew the kind of evening he was in for, having worked with Walton at the Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament for ESPN in the past. He gave Bill lots of room to be Bill. With that the evening began and the headlines after the game said it all:
Basketball legend BILL WALTON could be the most colorful character from the world of sports. He is a curious guy with wide-ranging interests and pursuits – and he loves to talk about all of them. If you’ve ever watched a basketball game he’s broadcasted, you know just how off topic Bill can go – pulling in obscure references to science, literature, music, and more. Some sports fans find that distracting, but most everyone else watching finds it uniquely entertaining.
Happy Valentine's Day! On the day that we celebrate the heart, I want to share a story about a very special man. Basketball legend BILL WALTON is a true gentle man whose limitless kindness toward others reveals deep humanity and enormous heart. Not a week goes by that I don't hear one or two stories about Bill's generosity of spirit, but this one especially caught my attention.