If you’re like me, and happen to watch an unhealthy amount of basketball, then in your mind, you’ve developed a personal relationship with the broadcasters who cover the game. Everyone on the mic has his or her own personality, and you’ve grown familiar with that personality over repeated viewings.
For instance, if you’re a true junkie, obsessed with the nitty-gritty details that make basketball such a beautiful sport, than Hubie Brown is like the wise grandfather you always turned to when you had questions as a youth. Seemingly omniscient, Hubie not only knows how everything in the world works — every tool, every appliance, every slip-screen — but he can take it all apart and rebuild it right before your eyes.
Reggie Miller, on the other hand, is the polar opposite of Hubie. He’s the uncle you had growing up that couldn’t spell cat if you spotted him two letters.
Kevin Harlan, Gus Johnson and Dickie V are your rambunctious friends who are always the life of the party; Dan Dakich is the guy who always shows up uninvited.
You can go on and on; to each personality there is an equal and opposite personality. Except Bill Walton.
There is no one else in the world like Bill Walton.
Bill Walton is basketball’s irreverent mystic. One part NBA Hall of Famer and two parts spiritual medicine man, Walton is like a strong acid trip at a Dead concert in the physical embodiment of the best passing big man in history.
As the Pac-12 Network’s resident color analyst, he’s just as likely to discuss his stance on America’s marijuana laws on-air as he is to talk about the rise of one-and-done teams in the NCAA, often to the bewilderment of play-by-play partner Dave Pasch. Observe:
Want to hear about the increasing reliance on the three-ball in the college game? That’s cool, but Bill Walton would rather talk about that time he was milked:
Worried about how Derrick Rose will ever recover from his latest knee injury? Bill Walton has the answer, and it involves yoga and Hawaii:
— Kevin Bustillo (@KBustillo1) February 26, 2015
So with that in mind, we look at the end of last night’s game between Stanford and Utah in the Pac-12 tournament. As time was running out in a boring, blow-out game, Bill Walton looked around, felt the energy in the broadcast fading, spread his wings and took flight:
Bill Walton is a goddamn beautiful soaring phoenix, and we’re all lucky to have him.
So tell us: Have you ever been to a volcano?