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.
“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.”