Yes … he really did! In his interview with sportscaster panelists on ESPN First Take Bill Walton was his usual self spouting interesting and at times, outrageous lines while being highly entertaining in the process.
They asked him, “Who is going to win it all?” Bill answerd, “OREGON … I love the way they play.” A panelist exclaims, “Oregon? A lot of people think they shouldn’t be a one-seed!”
Walton answered …
“That’s because people here think Lewis & Clark just got there!”
Omigosh. Is that vintage Bill Walton or what?
It is a long interview spanning his career, and he expresses regret about some of his Portland days while speaking proudly of his son. However, the surprise is what he asserted about the Ducks and seeing how the panelists were completely caught off guard and were not sure if they wanted to challenge him much. I don’t want to give you all the juicy quotes since the part about the Ducks is only about three to four minutes, but do click the video ribbon at 18 minutes and 13 seconds to lead into the type of fun we have heard on the Pac-12 Network all season.
Once Walton is on a roll — they can’t stop him as he gushes about the Oregon head coach …
“This is a fantastic team and Dana Altman is a wonderful coach who is a lot like John Wooden and Jack Ramsey (UCLA & Portland Trailblazers). The sense of getting to what is next is what Dana Altman is all about.”
He went through a description of the players and summarized what he believed would be the major component in the Ducks winning the NCAA Mens Basketball Championship:
“The staggering thing about Oregon and the top tier of the Pac-12 … the conference of champions, is the physical fitness levels.”
You could tell that with nothing coming from Walton about Kansas, Oklahoma, or North Carolina — the sportscasters couldn’t just sit and listen to it all. So one of them challenged Walton, “You talking about them beating a Coach K team to get there?” (Boy, what that says about their thoughts about Oregon!)
Bill retorts right back with …
“Everybody loves Coach K and is a Duke fan, but Oregon is going to take ’em!”
I take back anything deprecating I have said about Walton, although I have enjoyed his Pac-12 telecasts quotes here and here. First, I cannot believe the Ducks won both the regular season championship and the Pac-12 tournament. Then I heard people say we have a shot at the Final Four and then actually get a No. 1 seed … with Bill Walton telling ESPN that we are going to win it all?
These are great times my feathered friends!
To watch the portion about Oregon — go to 18:13 on the ribbon below the video, click play, and enjoy the other comments he says to shock the panelists about our beloved Ducks. Our thanks go to ESPN for creating this video, allowing it to be shared and keeping us smiling with the antics of our friend from The Conference of Champions!
Top Photo from ESPN Video
Special thanks to Gary Breedlove for finding this video