Murphy: Walton’s real world

Liam Murphy

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a fan of reality television. The ongoing Irulan/ Alton saga on “The Real World” has me glued to the television on Tuesday nights. And I also admit that I don’t understand why Joe Millionaire decided to keep Zora. She is just not all there.

So when ESPN decided to give Bill Walton, one of the 50 greatest basketball players of all time, his own reality show, you knew I wasn’t going to miss it.

Walton, who won games at every level he played, is one of the most entertaining basketball announcers in the business. How can you not love it when a player has a thunderous dunk and you hear Walton say, “throw it down, big man, throw it down”? What separates Walton from other color analysts is his passion for the game of basketball. You can see he loves the game, loves his history in the game and loves where the game is going.

Walton’s life outside of basketball is what amuses me most. ESPN the Magazine wrote a story about Bill’s son Luke, a current player for the Arizona Wildcats. Luke was telling stories in the article about how Jerry Garcia and the rest of the Dead would come to Walton’s home and shack up for weeks at a time writing music and being “free.”

Luke’s dad has been to over 600 Grateful Dead shows in his lifetime and was seen this past New Year’s onstage with Phish in New York City.

In the first episode of “Bill Walton’s Long Strange Trip,” Walton is seen teaching the Rockets’ Yao Ming a few baseline moves and in doing so relates the game to lyrics from the Dead. Yao, who some people say listens to the Dead himself, barely speaks any English but looked like he understood what Walton was trying to say when it was told to him by his interpreter.

One of the other elements of the show is Walton’s friend/ assistant Phil, who goes everywhere with Bill. His scene with Calvin Murphy was downright hilarious. Murphy wanted absolutely nothing to do with this guy. And in the scenes for next week’s episode, Phil is seen having another ridiculous conversation with the greatest of all time, Michael Jordan.

And thanks to Chris Graziano for saying all this Lebron stuff has gone too far. I too admit that I was entertained when I watched him play, but all the hype and media coverage has just gotten out of hand.

In one of his columns he wrote for ESPN The Magazine, Walton advised Lebron to get all the works of Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan and John Wooden, because they would guide him to make the right decisions.

Can you imagine Lebron driving around Akron pumping Dylan or the Dead in his new Hummer, with computer-enhanced visuals playing on the three televisions he has in the SUV. Who knows, maybe if Bron Bron listened to this music, music written by two of the best songwriters of all time (besides Snoop), he would still be playing high school basketball.

The best part of last week’s show had to be when Walton was interviewing Rockets guards Steve Francis and Catino Mobley. Walton asked a series of questions to the dynamic backcourt players, which they answered by writing the first thing that came to mind on a piece of paper.

Walton asked the players where they least liked playing basketball. Mobley wrote his answer, and then showed it to Francis. Mobley started giggling like a little boy with a trick up his sleeve. He turned the paper around to show Walton his answer. Walton read the answer aloud to the audience, which was “a D-3 school in New Hampshire. It was horrible.” As soon as Walton read the “it was horrible” part, Mobley laughed out loud and slapped Walton a high five. “I love it when you say that,” he told Walton.

Many people don’t like Bill Walton. They think that he is a terrible announcer and too negative when he commentates NBA basketball games. I say good for Bill. Too many of today’s players are pampered. Players think that they are good because they are in the NBA. Walton believes that every player has the capacity to get better, but in order to do so he has to work on it.

We don’t see this out of too many players these days. Shaq doesn’t want to play in the Olympics because his coach won’t be there. Players sometimes say that they will never play for a certain organization. This is all garbage.

I say let Walton have a war of words with these players. After about 20 minutes of Walton philosophizing with these stars about life and basketball, I bet some of these players have a new perspective on what they are doing with themselves.