Bill Walton's return to ESPN airwaves after a several year absence has certainly made the college basketball announcing scene much more colorful. After battling severe health issues and even contemplating suicide, it's great to see Walton back in the booth calling Pac 12 games for ESPN on a regular basis.
Last night's UCLA-Washington game was Walton at his wildest. He unmercifully ripped current Bruins coach Ben Howland to almost awkward levels while delivering continuing along on his own planet of one. He has the most unique announcing style in the history of the spoken word. Walton's use of hyperbole is in and of itself hyperbolic - he'll give random shoutouts to the Grateful Dead or Linda Ronstadt, impart wisdom from John Wooden, call a simple bounce pass one of the great plays in the history of western civilization, and travel any and everywhere in between.
I've been a fan of Walton since the days when he called NBA games with Marv Albert and Steve "Snapper" Jones. I'll even speak in a slightly raised monotone and declare random ordinary things to be the greatest of all-time in their respective realm. He's never taken the game too seriously and he actually does sprinkle some basketball insight into his Waltonisms. You can't make it through this list of Waltonisms (comparing Eric Piatkowski to Jerry West and talking about Fabricio Oberto defying gravity) without laughing.
Alas, I know everyone is not a fan of the redhead. It's amazing to read these tweets and realize they're all about the same person, but whether you love or hate Bill Walton you have to appreciate the fact that he is still breaking the mold. As always these are Real Tweets from Real People...
Bill Walton going where no analyst dares to go ... Flat-out said he's not a Howland fan and "things would be different" if he were in charge— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) February 8, 2013
I love Bill Walton.So glad to hear him back on games.One of the nicest people around. Entertaining & doesn't take himself too seriously— Chris Carlin (@ChrisCarlinSNY) February 8, 2013
Good lord, the only thing more awkward than Bill Walton's disdain for Ben Howland, is Dave Pasch's disdain for Bill Walton.— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) February 8, 2013
Bill Walton is entering Bobby Heenan territory. I'm waiting for Howland to make another mistake so Walton can say "BUT WHOSE SIDE IS HE ON?"— Seth S (@CentreSIFella) February 8, 2013
Bill Walton continues to be the worst commentator in all of sports. Ruins games for me. Goodness. #Fact— Jason Staley (@YayYayee23) February 8, 2013
Is it just me or is Bill Walton always high on shrooms when he broadcasts our games? #GODAWGS— Die Hard Dawgs! (@DieHardDawgs) February 8, 2013
I hate Bill Walton but I like hearing him talk for some reason he sounds so stupid— Evan W. Anderson(@ChasinGr8ness) February 8, 2013
Have just watched one of the ugliest halves of basketball ever played between UCLA and Washington because Bill Walton has been great.— Joe Robinson (@JoeDRobinson4) February 8, 2013
Bill Walton continues to be world's best human.— Robert Reinhard (@Robert_Reinhard) February 8, 2013
At this point I wouldn't be surprised if Bill Walton took off his headphones and walked over and stabbed Ben Howland. #UCLA— Lonely Tailgater (@LonelyTailgater) February 8, 2013
"What is the worst thing you can be in entertainment? Boring. This is boring." - Bill Walton— Rob Jech (@rjech) February 8, 2013
Bill Walton "incredible come from behind surge here by the Huskies!" Washington is on a 5-0 run...— Brian Lamb (@TheReal_BLamb) February 8, 2013
I could watch this UCLA game just to listen to Bill Walton go on a diatribe about tie dye shirts, the Grateful Dead, and the back door pass— Jeff Hoke (@jhoke713) February 8, 2013
I feel like this broadcasting crew is Bill Walton, and some poor schmuck who has to babysit Bill Walton.— Zach Smith (@ZachUDub) February 8, 2013
Bill walton is the most annoying sportscaster ever.— Alex Botten (@BottenRobert) February 8, 2013
Bill Walton is the best announcer on tv— Mark Pryzbylkowski (@MarkPryz20) February 8, 2013
Bill Walton's ignorance ceases to amaze me— Uzi (@uchimane31) February 8, 2013