Generally, we love Bill Walton. His stemwinder "Sugar Magnolia" tales during bland mid-January college hoop games are a fan's delight. However, Walton is no spring chicken. He's now 64. And while we will always need and feed him, it's the beginning of that stage in life when an old boy loses focus and gets to rambling.
Crosstown rivals UCLA and USC played a hell of a ballgame in the Pac-12 tournament Thursday night. The play of the night in Vegas came right around the five-minute mark in the second half. Trojan guard Jordan McLaughlin threw an alley-oop from the Bruins side of the court to fellow guard Elijah Stewart who hauled it in for the flush and the foul.
Walton enthusiastically chimed in with "The Trojan loyalists are up!" Then, in the battle of La-La Land, Walton did a little moonlighting as Abe Simpson.
The bomb-ass basketball play was shunted aside for a very boring story about a "Trojan loyalist" who changed Walton's life. His stories are usually full of wonder and glory, surreal glimpses of the alternative universe in Big Red's cranium. This, however, was a digression into the fact that Bill befriended a billionaire real-estate mogul.
The closed captioning, fully sic'd, really does a good job of capturing the non sequitur:
Bill: I'm with you, I like him. Put him with leonard. >> Dave:e: alley-oop, he scores! Three-point pass for the trojans trojans. >> Bill: I hadan my life changed recently by a trojan warrior. He w came to los angeles many years ago and it started a real statel empire, became a >> Dave: he picked up his fourth foul and stilll with the throw to make it a 4-point game__...
Luckily, Dave Pasch pulled our beloved weirdo back to the basketball goings-on, a game the Bruins survived 76-74. It was just in the nick of time, as Walton was definitely heading down an "onion on my belt" wormhole from which the broadcast might not have recovered.
h/t Kenny Ducey
Oh, and earlier in the broadcast, Walton spoke to his affection for visiting dry lands. But it came out in a way that only Walton could phrase it, "I love tripping in the desert."
Probably the same kind of vision quest that introduced him to this unnamed 'real estate mogul' he keeps talking about.