Bill Walton appeared on the Dan Dakich Show today, putting in what the host called one of his best interviews ever. Walton doesn’t really talk about UCLA outside of some mentions of John Wooden and Pauley Pavilion, but he does ramble on as few others can.
At one point, he misquotes Neil Young’s “Walk Like A Giant” as he tries to explain how excited he is to be on Dakich’s show:
“‘Breaks my heart to think about how close we came/Think about how good it feels/I want to walk like a giant on the land/I don’t want to float like a leaf in the stream.’ And that’s why I’m honored to be on your show today, Dan. So how are the football players?’”
I don’t think Dakich asks more than five questions, but Walton unsurprisingly manages to talk for 40 minutes. Here are some other excerpts. You can find the full interview here.
At a little after 19 minutes: “I’m not a good father. It’s my greatest failing in life on a personal level. My greatest failing on a professional level is the failure of the Clippers to survive, thrive, build and grow here in San Diego. This is my hometown. And this is where — my mom, my dad passed nine years ago, my mom still lives in the same family home. They moved there when I was born, 60 years ago. She’s just 10 minutes away. I talk to her every night before I go to bed. The conversation’s always the same: ‘Yay, Mom. Yay, San Diego. Yay, California. Thanks for the greatest life ever, Mom.’ Her conversation coming back, starts the same way every night: ‘Say, Billy. Did you ever get a job?’ The fact that we move to the direction of trying to address your failures, we run the risk of obsolescence through repeated failures. Just think of the challenge of being a parent. The most important jobs in the world are being a parent, being a teacher and being a coach, because you’re responsible for what’s next. …
“I missed so much of our children’s lives. So many regrets, so many second thoughts. But one of the biggest ones that I have is that I never insisted that our children take structured music lessons. The importance of music in your life and learning from the master teachers. If you ever need to find out where you’re going, just ask the people who are on their way back.”
After 23 minutes: “I was not a fan of Big Ten basketball until this year. It was just too slow and too grinded out. But to see what Indiana has done and the Hoosiers, and the style that they play with. And what Zeller does, and Oladipo and the two little guards, No. 1 and No. 11 — how cool is that? To have these two little midgets out there running around, stroking threes, pressing up in your face. And the ball movement. That No. 4 guy, hitting those 3-pointers and making those creative plays. It’s just such a fun team to watch.”
After 24 minutes, digressing a bit on the pillars of life: “With your health, anything is possible. Without it, nothing gets done.”
At 36 minutes, when asked about Bob Knight: “It staggers me to see and encounter people in life who are not positive. I just don’t understand it. I don’t understand why people are negative, why people are vulgar, why people are bullies, why people are boars. The job of a coach, the job of a teacher, the job of a leader is to make people better at who they are, at what they do. I just want the acceptance and realization that what leadership and what coaching is about … it’s about giving up your life so that other people’s dreams can come true.”