Littman: A game to honor the greatest broadcaster in the history of Western Civilization

By Adam Littman

We’re not even two weeks into the NBA season, and the league has already suffered a loss more… We’re not even two weeks into the NBA season, and the league has already suffered a loss more damaging than if LeBron James or Kobe Bryant were to suffer a season-ending injury.

On Monday, broadcaster Bill Walton retired because of back problems, making this the second time in his career he’s retired too early because of an injury. As a player, the 6-foot-11 Walton was unlike most other big men in the league, with tremendous ability to pass and run the court. Unfortunately, Walton was bothered by recurring foot injuries and played in just 468 games during his 10-year career.

Starting in 1990, Walton became a broadcaster for NBC and the Clippers and then from 2002 until last year with ABC. Walton was known for making hilariously exaggerated comments while announcing. He would also talk frequently about the Grateful Dead and claims he’s seen more than 650 Dead concerts.

In honor of Walton’s illustrious career, I thought we could play a game called “Is That A Real Bill Walton Quote?” Here are the rules: I give you a quote and you need to say whether it was actually said on air by Walton. Enjoy.

Quote 1: “Tracy McGrady is doing things we’ve never seen from anybody — from any planet!”

Quote 2: “When I think of Boris Diaw, I think of Beethoven in the age of the Romantics.”

Quote 3: “The New York Knicks are the best-run franchise in the history of Western civilization.”

Quote 4: “Yesterday, we celebrated Sir Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity. Today, Fabricio Oberto is defying it.”

Quote 5: “Cuttino Mobley has just made the worst pass attempt in the history of this proud Houston Rockets franchise.”

Quote 6: “What a pathetic performance by this sad human being. This is a disgrace to the game of basketball and to the NBA.”

Quote 7: “You look at Vladimir Radmanovic, this guy is cut from stone. As if Michelangelo was reading and a lightning bolt flashed before him.”

Quote 8: “John Stockton is one of the true marvels, not just of basketball, or in America, but in the history of Western civilization.”

Quote 9: “Come on, that was no foul! It may be a violation of all the basic rules of human decency, but it’s not a foul.”

Quote 10: “If Eric Piatkowski continues playing at this level, he’s going to replace Jerry West on the NBA logo.”

And now onto the answers:

Quote 1: That is most certainly a real quote from Walton. Perhaps it was all those Dead shows, but Walton doesn’t seem to realize the NBA game has yet to go galactic. In fact, in the league’s history, only one player has ever come from another planet. And Sam Cassell, while a very good player, had a much different skill set than McGrady.

Quote 2: Once again, that is an actual quote from Walton. He was talking about how Diaw has transformed the Suns franchise, how much of a classical human being Diaw is and how it had been a little more than 300 years since Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3” came out. Oddly enough, Walton didn’t bring up how Diaw oftentimes stops playing if he notices the crowd talking among themselves.

Quote 3: While Walton does like to mention Western civilization, not even he has smoked enough pot to say something so outlandish.

Quote 4: Another actual Walton quote. This one came after a rather impressive dunk by Oberto, then on the Spurs and now a member of, fittingly enough, the Wizards.

Quote 5: Nope. This one was a trick. I combined two great Walton quotes. One quote was about an errant Tony Parker pass being the worst pass attempt in the history of the Spurs, and the other one is about Robert Horry taking the two worst shot attempts in the proud history of the Rockets.

Quote 6: That was said by Walton in reference to a lackluster performance by Larry Johnson. This one had to sting if Johnson ever ended up hearing it. On the plus side, Johnson was nicknamed “Grandmama,” partially because he dressed up like an old woman in a sneaker commercial, but also because he always kept a bowl of sucking candy at his locker.

Quote 7: Walton clearly liked his history, as this is another quote from the man. Fun Fact: Radmanovic is literally cut from stone, limestone to be completely accurate.

Quote 8: I’m not sure what led Walton to say this, but he most certainly did. My guess is he said it about Stockton’s ability to appear so confident on the court while wearing shorts that somehow ended above his waistline.

Quote 9: Another winner from Walton.

Quote 10: Walton said this one after the frequent benchwarmer, who averaged 7.5 points a game in his 14-year career, hit a few consecutive shots one game.

Well that’s it. Hope you did well. One quick suggestion: Watch all NBA games on mute this year as another way to pay tribute to the greatest broadcaster in the history of Western civilization.