I will never forget my first Arizona men’s basketball game. It was Thursday, January 21 against Arizona State. I was nervous because I had to take good notes to discuss the game on a podcast. I had never been on a podcast before.
The game came down to the final shot and Arizona won the game in a thrilling fashion. All this, however, was eclipsed by the atrocious commentary of Bill Walton.
It was so hard to focus on the game because all I could hear was Bill Walton talking about everything but basketball. Apparently, that is what he is known for. Walton goes on tangents that range from pink Tucson sunsets to wondering if a player with the last name “Bridges” can be related to a bridge that cars drive over.
I am not even joking; he did this during a Michigan State vs. North Carolina basketball game back in 2017. When it comes to Arizona, he prefers to refer to the Wildcats as “the kitties.” I enjoy using the word “kitties,” but I use it when I refer to my cat, alone in my house, where nobody can hear me.
While some may enjoy this ridiculous banter, am I the only one who thinks this commentary ruins the game? Sports commentary is about discussing what is happening in real-time and making the game exciting. It is not a time to make buffalo noises and wish everyone a happy “Galantines Day” as Walton does.
This nonsense takes away from great moments in the game, many of which are missed out on because Walton would rather tell you about “volcanoes going off in Russia or Mexico City.” Meanwhile, there is a basketball game going on where a half-court lob was thrown and somebody got posterized. Too late to call it though because Walton needed you to know about volcanoes.
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Viewers are not the only ones who are frustrated by this. Walton’s Pac-12 partner Dave Pasch clearly voices his frustrations during games. You will hear him constantly ask Walton to please let him call the game.
Instead, I get to listen to an argument about how turtles hibernate like bears do because when a snowflake melts on someone’s shoe in Luxembourg that is the sign for turtles to begin sleeping. Walton has never said this, but I am sure he will someday soon. Pasch is trying to do his job, while Walton is clowning out next to him changing his shirt in the middle of a broadcast.
Believe it or not, I like Walton. I think he is funny, but he does not belong in broadcasting. He is more suited for a podcast or a YouTube show with his humor. I would be more than happy to tune into a podcast where Walton can teach people how to use a “glockenspiel.” Till then, I will be muting any college basketball game that appears on ESPN2.
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