When you turn on any given basketball game on television, you almost immediately know when Bill Walton is calling the game.
Whether you hear one of his trademark sayings - like ‘Throw it down one time!” - or are listening to one of his tangents on how to use more sustainable energy, Walton is unforgettable, whether you enjoy his calls or not.
But one thing is for sure, his basketball IQ is off the charts and there is one player that he loves watching - Jusuf Nurkic.
The former Portland Trail Blazer center and NBA Champion explains why on the latest episode of the Talkin’ Blazers Podcast:
The way he understands the game - and I haven’t seen him play that much - but the way he floats over the court for such a big, large person to have the footwork and the balance and the lightness of foot. To see the angles that he sees and I only see them on television. It’s always better in person. This guy is very special — Bill Walton on Jusuf Nurkic
The return of the Bosinan Beast cannot be overstated enough. Rip City has been waiting over one year for Nurk’s return to action, and he looks sharper than ever. Walton is absolutely correct pointing out Nurk’s high IQ and vision on the court. When he gets the ball at the elbow, the surrounding defense has to play honest because of the amount of times Nurk will tightrope a pass to a backdoor cutter.
The Blazers finally return to meaningful games for the first time since March 10 on Friday in Orlando, Florida.
You can bet that Walton will be watching the Beast and how the NBA reacts to Nurk on the floor once again with the Trail Blazers.
Walton’s time in Portland and with the Trail Blazers organization is unforgettable. He helped bring the Rip City an NBA championship in 1977.
It’s a very special time for me and what a privilege to be a part of something so special in my life… The celebration and the fans, the spirit and the pride, the emotional commitment and the signs that the fans would bring and the way they packed that Memorial Coliseum for all those years… It just made me the best player that I ever was. — Bill Walton on Rip City
It was a special time indeed for the Rose City. During that championship run, Walton was averaging 18.6 points, 14.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game.
But for ‘Big Red,’ it wasn’t enough.
I just wish I could have done more for the Trail Blazers. — Bill Walton
The 6-foot-11 second-year center from UCLA helped bring a championship to Rip City and still wishes he could have done more for the franchise. Walton ended his basketball career as a 2x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, 1977 Finals MVP, 2x All-Defense, 1978 MVP and much more highlighted by the Hall of Fame.
Listen to the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast here.