There’s no player past or present who captures the zeitgeist of the 1960s like Bill Walton. He just happened to play in the era after the Summer of Love. The unabashed Dead Head and NBA Champion is now a colorful commentator after getting over a stuttering problem, and he participated in a colorful AMA with reddit yesterday filled with all sorts of goodies for basketball fans, but also fans of the absurd (and you need not read Kierkegaard or Camus to love).
Lets look at three questions and answers that sum up the former Bruin, Blazers and Celtics center. The first one might not be as well-known, but it’s a catch-all for catching fire, even if it sounds like something else entirely:
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.
Then there’s his solar-powered teepee because of course Bill Walton has a solar-powered teepee.
Walton is, after all, a national treasure, but his wife, Lori, isn’t too eager for such pastoral living:
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.
But the one answer that really stuck out for us here at DIME, was when Walton was asked about the biggest moment of his career. Was it his 1977 Title with the Portland Trail Blazers when he was named Finals MVP? Or his 1978 NBA MVP despite only appearing in 58 games before going down with a foot injury — an issue that would plague him for the remainder of his Hall-of-Fame career. Perhaps it was winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 1986 when his Celtics almost ran the table at home and coasted to the title? None of those things, actually, but his biggest moment did come in 1986:
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…
Read the rest of his stupendous AMA and revel in the carnival ride that is Bill Walton’s life.