Bill Walton in a still from 30 for 30 "The Luckiest Guy In The World." Bill Walton in a still from 30 for 30 “The Luckiest Guy In The World.” (ESPN Films.)

Last August, ESPN officially announced the long-rumored Bill Walton 30 for 30. At that point, though, all was known was that it was directed by Steve James (of Hoop Dreams fame, he also directed early 30 for 30 installment No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson), that it featured an extensive list of interviews, and that production had started. Well, on Tuesday, ESPN officially announced more details, including the title (The Luckiest Guy In The World), and that this will be a four-part series, and that it will premiere on ESPN on June 6 and 13 (during the NBA Finals) and will be available on ESPN+ immediately afterwards:

Here’s more on The Luckiest Guy In The World from that release:

ESPN will debut the next installment in the Peabody and Emmy award-winning 30 for 30 series, “The Luckiest Guy in the World,” on June 6 and 13. Directed by Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”), the four-part series tells the colorful story of a true sports original: iconic basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton. His life is the stuff of legend: a high school basketball phenom and game-changing big man for the UCLA dynasty; an injury-plagued NBA lightning rod defined by championships and setbacks; a Grateful Dead devotee who remained true to himself, no matter the cost.

…The film is a kaleidoscopic trip through Walton’s life and memory, accompanied by the soundtrack of his life: the music of the Grateful Dead.

In James’s hands, the story winds back and forth through time and space, from the heights of the NBA in Portland and Boston to the wilds of Oregon, from the chaos of civic unrest and antiwar protest at UCLA to the simple pursuit of being able to live a pain-free existence. Through it all, Walton’s life serves as a colorful, tie-dyed answer to the deeper questions we all face: what does it mean to be happy? What does it mean to be free? Unifying themes across decades and various cities, it is a story of the times – tied together by the perfect soundtrack of the era and, as always, Walton’s ebullient spirit.

Said James: “Growing up, I was a big fan of UCLA’s basketball teams, none more so than during the years that Bill Walton was such a dominant player. I continued to follow his career in the NBA and always felt that he’d had great misfortune to suffer countless injuries, and be vilified for it in the press and public. Walton was also criticized for his outspoken political beliefs and alternative lifestyle. So when ESPN approached me about telling his story, I saw it as a great opportunity to dig into his remarkable career and life. Walton is a true original, and proves the famous F. Scott Fitzgerald quote wrong – Bill Walton has had not just a second act in his American life, but maybe a third, and fourth as well.”

This sounds like a fitting approach to covering a figure like Walton, who is famed for so many different things. And “a kaleidoscopic trip” involving Walton makes sense. As previously announced, too, there are a number of promising figures interviewed for this, including Larry Bird, Julius Ervin, Lionel Hollins, Jack Ramsay, Artis Gilmore, World B. Free, Ralph Lawler, Brent Musburger, Robert Parish, and Kevin McHale. We’ll see how it turns out, but there will definitely be a lot of interest in this one from both NBA fans and fans of Walton’s unique approach to commentary.

[ESPN Press Room]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.