SEATTLE — Only Bill Walton would be able to cover as much ground in an 80-minute speaking engagement as he did on Wednesday.
Bob Dylan, John Wooden, Lorenzo Romar, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, leprechauns, The Grateful Dead, TV deals, and Brandon Roy were just a few of the topics that Walton touched on in front of about 100 University of Washington students, when the #WaltonOnWheels tour made stop 7 of 9 in Seattle. Walton has been traveling via tour bus (which he speaks very highly of) to Pac-12 schools up and down the west coast.
It was clear from the beginning that Walton has been through a lot in life, yet is excited for what’s to come. Fulfilling life’s goals is a high priority for Walton, and something he expressed to those sitting in the audience on Wednesday. “Get the job done in every challenge you face,” Walton said. “Do whatever it takes.”
[Related: Bus tour brings Walton back to his roots]
Walton preached the importance of overcoming life’s challenges. “I grew up in the most unathletic family ever,” Walton said. “It’s all about luck and who you team up with.” He spoke highly of his coaches and teammates, saying they helped him become the person he is today. Of Wooden, the legendary UCLA coach, Walton said, “There has never been a great team, or a great player, without a great coach.” At one point he rattled off the Pyramid of Success too fast for anyone to keep up.
Walton explained the spine issues he dealt with six years ago, and how they had him on edge. He’s now pain-free and clearly loving life. He stressed to the audience multiple times that “anyone can sit back and wait for the game of life to fall in their lap.”
[Related: #WaltonOnWheels tweets]
Walton also took questions from the students in attendance. Some asked about life in the NBA, or what it was like playing on some of the greatest teams ever. He offered a trademark “THROW IT DOWN BIG MAN!”
The next stop on Bill Walton’s tour will be at Stanford University on Wednesday February 27.
Recent UW graduate Bryce Gustafson works in the New Media & Recruiting Services department of the University of Washington Athletic Department.