Bill Walton’s life message much deeper than X’s and O’s

Bill Walton

Bill Walton calls his life an open book. Few will find a story half as compelling as the chapters in Walton’s 60-year novel.

From the elation of winning two National Championships at UCLA and two NBA World Championships (Portland and Boston), to struggling with a speech impediment and thoughts of suicide, Walton’s tales are both exciting and excruciating.

Now he’s sharing his message with universities up and down the west coast as he’s embarked on a nine-school Pac-12 tour. His branded bus tour stretches over 3500 hundred miles in ten weeks, and has been coined by some as “Walton on Wheels.”

Tuesday night he spoke for close to 90 minutes in front of a few hundred students and fans at the Memorial Union on the campus of ASU. Topics ranged from his goofy looks to his severe back problems and favorite moments on and off the court at UCLA and later in the NBA.

“You never know how the game of life will play out,” an animated Walton explained to the assembled audience. “I’m a life-long stutterer. Learning how to speak is my greatest accomplishment in life.”

Walton’s laundry list of accomplishments are impressive. At UCLA he was a three-time Naismith Player of Year before becoming the NBA MVP in 1978 and later winning the Sixth Man of the Year in ’86. His number 32 is retired at UCLA and with the Trailblazers. Walton was voted one of the 50 best sports broadcasters and teamed with Steve “Snapper” Jones analyzing NBA games for NBC.

He’s now getting great satisfaction sharing his vision and perspective with college students in this difficult economic time where jobs and financial security can be hard to come by.

“It’s remarkable how enthusiastic, positive, and upbeat they are in the face of extreme adversity,” Walton told following his presentation. “We are crushing them, breaking their spirits with limited opportunities when they do [leave college].”

Wednesday he’ll make the short trip down I-10 to Tucson for a scheduled 10:00AM stop at the University of Arizona, where he will again share his unique story.

Walton’s whirlwind tour, which started January 11th at the University of Oregon in Eugene, concludes with a trip to the Bay Area for an appearance at Stanford on the 27th, followed by Cal on March 6th.

You can visit here to see the schedule for the remainder of his tour.