Bill Walton and Jason Benetti at the Maui Invitational. (Credit: ESPN)

Leaving ESPN meant leaving Bill Walton for new Tigers voice Jason Benetti, but the lessons Benetti learned working with Walton resonated deeply.

Benetti discussed Walton’s broadcasting personality, their friendship, and Walton’s legacy in an interview on Sports Media with Richard Deitsch released Tuesday.

“I laugh so hard when people say to me, ‘I can’t watch Bill because it’s always about him,'” Benetti explained. “No. You have it very wrong. It’s about his sensibility of what the planet can mean to him.”

Walton is known for the far-out and rambling way in which he broadcasts college basketball. While it may be a turn-off for some viewers, Benetti insists it’s genuine and far from selfish. The basketball lifer is simply so full of life that he can’t help but color outside the lines.

“If he wanted to, through all those telecasts he does with (Dave) Pasch, with me, with Roxy (Bernstein), he could say ‘I met this person, I know that person, I did this, I did that,'” Benetti added.”Instead, he says, ‘the acacia trees are blooming.’ It’s not about him, but it could be about him.”

After working with him for a while, Benetti came to appreciate the humility and compassion Walton lives with.

“He is the most fascinating, truly empathetic, deeply caring person you will ever meet. It’s like being friends with the woods. It’s like being in nature with another human being,” Benetti told Deitsch. “But he is not about himself … he has had 90 lives, he knows truly everybody, and he is not a name-dropper. He never does that.”

Walton has been a civil rights activist, an MVP, a Deadhead, a father and more during his well-documented life.

“Not only did they live it and live through all of these generational moments, he also was in it,” Benetti said. “He put himself in it and was willing to expend capital … to be involved in it. Not because it was a win for him publicly, but because it was what was in his heart.”

Benetti has passed the Walton assignments to Pasch and Bernstein, but hasn’t lost the soul of Walton’s broadcasting style.

[Sports Media with Richard Deitsch]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.