Bill Walton is returning to announcing, which is good enough. But he’s also — according to the Comcast Sports broadcast of Friday night’s game — going to be announcing Boston Celtics games. I’m pretty sure I just died and went to heaven. My favorite announcer announcing my favorite team? That’s pretty much the best news in the history of western civilization.
I often ask myself why I enjoy Walton so much. He often makes no sense at all. He once said, “When I think of Boris Diaw, I think of Beethoven in the age of the romantics.” (When a normal human being thinks of Boris Diaw, he thinks only of the Pillsbury Doughboy.) Walton has referred to Matt Barnes as “UCLA legend Matt Barnes,” and my eyes roll into the back of my head and I think how disrespectful that is to true UCLA legends… like Cameron Dollar, Toby Bailey and the O’Bannon brothers. Walton never fails to be over the top, and his commentary never fails to reach the land of the outlandish.
And yet he’s still the best NBA announcer in the history of western civilization, and I’m not even exaggerating or lying.
There’s just something about the way Walton expresses his feelings, with equal part truth and hyperbole. And then, even better, when it’s all hyperbole. When Walton says that the true story line in a Lakers game is whether Kobe Bryant actually throws a single pass, Walton is clearly exaggerating like no other. But he’s also getting his point across — when Walton said that, Kobe was one hell of a selfish dude. And then sometimes, Walton’s statements have no basis in truth whatsoever. Like when he called Kenyon Martin the second-best player in the Eastern Conference. Or when he called Steve Nash the most unathletic player in the NBA. Or when he compared Phoenix Suns Shaquille O’Neal to a meteor and the grand canyon, all at the same time. Even then, in times when Walton’s words express nothing but crazy talk, Walton never fails to leave me rolling on the floor, dying laughing.
Since Walton left announcing to deal with health issues (which ultimately led him to suicidal thoughts), the NBA hasn’t been the same. Listening to Hubie Brown spew numbers — after numbers after numbers after numbers — sucks. Hearing Mark Jackson tell his mother where some man went leaves a lot to be desired, and it’s difficult to accept the opinions of a man who once gripped onto Alonzo Mourning’s leg for dear life.
I’m sure there are some of you out there who are easily annoyed by Walton, and I can understand that. But where I stand, the NBA has missed Bill Walton, desperately. His rambling, entertaining commentary often times made zero sense, but that never changed one fact: Whenever I noticed that Bill Walton was announcing a game, I always gave a small fist pump. It will be terrific to have him back, and also wonderful that he’s finally healthy. And the fact that he will be announcing Celtics games? It’s perfect. Never mind that he was once a Celtic or that this story involving Walton, Larry Bird, Bird’s kitchen, Bird’s wife, the NBA championship and a bottle of Wild Turkey is the single greatest story of all time — I just miss Walton’s voice.
Throw it down, big man.