Bill Walton and Dick Vitale certainly delivered during a rare appearance calling an NBA broadcast, depending on your interpretation of the word ‘delivered.’
ESPN held its annual crossover game, where selected college announcers got the chance to call an NBA game. Taking the microphone on ESPN’s broadcast of the Cavs-Pacers were Vitale, Walton, and Dave Pasch. As somewhat expected, the broadcast was about as off-the-cuff as pro sports telecast has been in recent memory. Vitale, and especially Walton, made some curious remarks, including multiple shoutouts to Lady Gaga, admitting to drinking pre-game, and an extremely poor choice of words from the latter.
Here are some highlights.
The conversation surprisingly quickly became about Lady Gaga. Keep in mind, this was during the game.
BW: “We had Stevie Tyler clothes, we had Alice Cooper’s head.”
DV: “What about Dolly Parton’s clothes?”
BW: “Madonna was there.
DV: “Oh, Madonna?
BW: “It was fantastic. Mick Jagger was there and it was awesome. What a day.”
DV: “Lada Gaga’s blowing Madonna away! are you kidding me?
BW: “Lady Gaga is awesome.
DV: “She is sweet.
BW: “What she did was electrifying at the Super Bowl.”
Pasch gave one heck of an “I want to die” face during that conversation.
Walton openly asked “we’re still in the first quarter?” during the first quarter.
During Pasch’s call, Walton openly speculated why LeBron didn’t go up against four Pacers defenders singlehandedly.
DP: “He doesn’t want to go one on four.”
BW: “Why not?”
There was also a hilarious sponsor read, where Walton and Vitale both referred to the PlayStation Vue as the PlayStation 2. It led to Pasch openly questioning the broadcast.
BW: “Playstation 2?”
DV: “Playstation 2?
DP: “No, Playstation Vue. ‘Better decisions,’ I don’t know if this was a good decision, but we’re living with it.”
Walton made the poor decision to call a producer a “Dr. Slave Driver” on-air. He was quickly cut off. You can practically hear Pasch shaking his head.
BW: “Does that guy Dr. Slave Driver have us on SportsCenter during the halftime break or can I go use the *mic gets cut off*
Walton admitted Vitale might have been a tad buzzed.
BW: “You and Digger [Phelps] were having drinks this afternoon”
DV: “Oh my gooooood.”
Finally, Walton gave his opinion on Carmelo Anthony. He doesn’t care where Melo plays as long as it’s not on one of his teams.
DP: If you’re the Knicks do you move on. If you’re Carmelo do you move on?”
BW: “It doesn’t matter to me as long as he doesn’t go to any of the teams that I like.”
DP: Why, you don’t think Carmelo Anthony can help a team win?”
BW: “He can go wherever he wants. But, please don’t go to the Lakers, the Warriors, Spurs, or the Blazers or the Celtics.
DP: “So what are you saying Bill?”
BW: “As long as he doesn’t go to one of the teams I like, it’s fine.”
It was hard to tell whether the broadcast was performance art or an off the rails train wreck. Regardless, Vitale and Walton provided an entertaining, unusual night of commentary. What did you think of the duo’s NBA call?