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

Jason Benetti best described working with Bill Walton as like doing a crossword puzzle without any clues. And that’s how it was for the viewers and listeners at home, too.

Walton died at the age of 71 years old on Monday after a prolonged battle with cancer.

His post-NBA career blossomed in media. Following a Hall of Fame yet injury-riddled playing career, he transitioned seamlessly into broadcasting. Walton called NBA and college games for various networks like CBS, NBC, the Los Angeles Clippers, and ESPN/ABC. Back problems forced him to leave ESPN in 2009, but he returned to the network in 2012 to call Pac-12 games, continuing until this past season.

Walton’s broadcasting prowess wasn’t just entertaining; it was award-winning. In 1991, he won a Sports Emmy for best live telecast and was named one of the top 50 sports broadcasters ever by the American Sportscasters Association in 2009.

Known for his unorthodox style and captivating tangents, Walton, a UCLA alum, often teamed with play-by-play announcer Dave Pasch. Even battling health issues this past season, Walton’s on-air energy remained infectious.

That’s why his untimely passing hits hard, as those in sports media reflect on the man who was.

He was truly one of a kind. May he rest in peace.

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.