Walton Interview, Pt. 1

On Thursday, we all had a chance to chat with UCLA legend Bill Walton, and it essentially turned into Life 101. Throughout the day, I’ll roll out his quotes. Pretty amazing stuff.

Opening Statement:
“It’s a great honor and privilege to be asked to come back here today and be part of this special celebration, although when I agreed to do this, I didn’t quite know I’d be used as the stooge, as the dartboard. The rivalries of college basketball, the fierce, competitive relationship between UCLA and Oregon and the battles we had in the Pit – the ‘Kamikaze Kids,’ the bouncing scoreboard, the crazed maniacs that would do anything to help their team win, who would go on to become Blazer maniacs – to me it’s what college athletics to great. The fierce passion, tremendous pride and loyalty. I’m just thrilled, privileged and honored and humbled to be part of this special moment.”

What do you remember from the loss in 1974?“I remember the ’72 and ’73 games better. But the ’74 game, that was a tough time for us. We had a truly great team, a team for the ages, a team whose record stands until this very day. We started at UCLA 40 years ago, and when we came up here to the Willamette Valley and lost both games within 18 hours, our world had fallen apart. We look back at those with embarrassment, with shame, with dismay. We did not get the job done. We lost. My friends look at me today and they say, you lost a game to Bruce Caldron? You lost to Mark Barwig? You lost to Gerald Willard? Oh my gosh. Give Dick Carter, give the Ducks, their great fans all the credit. They took it to us, they attacked and we had nothing in response. I will forever have that stain and stigma on my soul. I’m looking for salvation. I’m looking for some way to rinse it off. But it just won’t go away.”

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  • Reformed Droog

    Mind you, this guys is talking about losing two games. He lost a total of 4 games in his entire UCLA career.

    FOUR GAMES.

    We’ve lost four games since I last rubbed one out…

    I just wish guys like him were more involved with today’s program.

  • Anonymous

    Cue the Judge: “Oh, Billy, Billy, Billy.”

  • Anonymous

    ESPN LA UCLA blog has actual footage of this interview that I watched yesterday.

  • MichaelRyerson

    Yeah, well actually, I think the name is Dick Harter not Dick ‘Carter’. I guess if you didn’t know, and you’re transcribing from an audio tape, it probably sounds like ‘Carter’

  • Anonymous

    I remember seeing what I believe was why Bill Walton stayed away from the program for awhile. I only saw it once but I’m sure it happened through the late 80′s to early 90′s, in the least.

    I saw Walton get booed at a charity game at Pauley Pavilion. I’m not sure the charity but was something that had UCLA alum v. North Carolina alum.

    It was around the time that Walton was blowing sunshine up the Boston Celtics behinds every week on TV so it would have been understandable from ordinary Lakers fans, but it was unforgivable of the Bruins fans in attendance.

    I never went back to Pauley after that game.

  • Blue Bruin

    Not sure what people are talking about with Walton not being involved or supportive? He talks about John Wooden as a modern day Jesus Christ. When UCLA was making its Final Four runs, he seemed to be at every game. When he was doing national NBA work he talked about UCLA all the time. When then trot out championship teams from the 70s or honor Wooden, Walton is always there.

  • CrouchingBruin

    He seemed to be less visibly supportive during the years that Luke was attending Arizona, which was also during the years Steve Lavin was UCLA’s head coach. Coincidence?

  • Blue Bruin

    It was probably a tough line for him to balance. In all honesty, I think it broke his heart that Luke HAD to go to UCLA. And that is 100% attributable to Lavin. Walton the senior’s whole life is based on his relationship with John Wooden…someone who was more than a coach. Bill always spoke glowingly of Lute Olson and the benefits of playing for such a legend. Would anyone take Lavin seriously as a mentor figure? Of course not! But if Howland had been at UCLA then, I’m sure Luke would have been a Bruin.