The highlight of Championship Week was undoubtedly the hilarious, eccentric, hyperbolic, reality-bending commentary of ESPN college basketball analyst Bill Walton. The big redhead's announcing comeback on the national stage has been one of the best developments in 2013 as he's done something few thought possible – made the nation care about Pac 12 basketball. I realize his brand of commentary isn't for everyone, but Walton's unique blend of sarcasm, wit, basketball acumen, and Deadheadedness has always made him one of my favorites behind the mic. He looks, sounds, and acts like no other analyst on television, which is refreshing. This weekend at the Pac 12 tourney in Las Vegas he took his game to an entirely different stratosphere.
From joking about Ray Lewis and Bill Simmons to First Take to his exchanges with partner Dave Pasch and admiration for the Pac 12 as the greatest conference in the history of western civilization and Las Vegas as the most remarkable city within the boundaries of our solar system, it was a tour de force performance from Bill Walton. Hopefully ESPN can find some sort of role for him for their NBA coverage, because I can't imagine having to wait till November to hear from Walton again. Here's his Top 10 quotes from the weekend…
10) “Throw it down big man! One time, throw it down!”
9) "Kazemi has to understand that nobody is going to tell him he has to go back to Iran if he misses a shot."
8) “Fans beyond description! Dancing angels of mercy! What more can you ask for?”
7) “The vision of what could possibly be for the nation’s greatest conference! The conference that has all the records! The conference that has all the perfect demographics, all the cool spots! This event this week has been one of the greatest things I’ve ever participated in my whole life! It went over the top today, because at the MGM Grand, they had a pool party this afternoon. Oh my gosh! The bands were there! The bikinis were out in full force! It was absolutely remarkable!
6) “Beautiful basketball! The Ducks on fire after a poor start a start as you could have! They have somehow come back and have found their way back to the Oregon Trail! Lewis & Clark would be so proud.”
Bonus Dave Pasch Quote
Pasch: “Bill, it’s been a pleasure. Enjoyed it all season, my friend."
Walton: “I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I work for Dave Pasch. Thank you for your patience."
Pasch: “Bill, you complete me.”
5) “I used to be a SportsCenter guy until I found First Take.”
4) “Tonight’s start was electric. Just both teams riding quasars all the way to the top of the mountain to the promised land!”
3) “They’re gonna suspend Bill Simmons. Anything is possible.”
2) “If you ever think you’re too small to make a difference, you’ve never spent a night in bed with a mosquito or you’ve never played basketball against Taylor from Utah, number 11 in your program, number one in your heart.”
1) “I was way in the back with Ray Lewis and it was unbelievable how much fun, oh my gosh, how many people were in there!”