It’s been a while since Bill Walton regularly called NBA games. In recent years, he has been the hilarious thorn in Dave Pasch’s side as they work Pac-12 games for ESPN. The last time Walton did an NBA game was in 2018, when he and Pasch worked a Warriors-Blazers game while the NBA crew worked a college basketball game.

To honor longtime Clippers play-by-play announcer Ralph Lawler in his final regular season game and his 40 years of service, Walton made a rare NBA appearance to reunite with Lawler and work one final game. Lawler and Walton were broadcasting partners for 13 years and Lawler was doing play-by-play when Walton played for the team.

What we got was classic Walton as two friends worked together one final time. Even in the introduction, Walton was his exuberant self as he celebrated Lawler’s career, including yelling Lawler’s classic “Bingo” call when someone hit a three.

Early on, Walton gave Lawler some nice retirement gifts including an engraved bottle of Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack that Walton wanted to break out during the game. In addition, Walton gave Lawler a piece of artwork Walton commissioned on Lawler’s life and career which was titled “The Long, Strange Trip of Ralph Lawler.”

While most of the country got the Jazz-Clippers game on ESPN (ironically, Pasch is working the ESPN broadcast), people in the LA area got a treat as Walton entertained the masses (and annoyed a few) with his nonsensical, but amusing tangents.

Oh yeah, there was a game going on. Despite the Clippers already knowing they would be the eight seed and the Jazz would take the five, the end result didn’t change much and was just more for bragging rights. Nevertheless, the Clippers pulled through in OT and won 143-137.

While this is his final regular season game, this may not be it for Ralph Lawler. Depending on the TV schedule, he may be on the call in the playoffs as the Clippers face the Warriors. But if this is it, it has been a tremendous end to a historic career and Bill Walton showed his appreciation the only way he knew how.

About Phillip Bupp

News and soccer editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. I also do video highlight game coverage for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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