What Is With This Love Affair Of ESPN And The Pac-12 Channel With The Obnoxious Bill Walton?

As a human being the great basketball player of yesteryear, Bill Walton, is a good guy with an encyclopedic mind backed by a kind of machine-gun fire instant recall. As a basketball color commentator, however, he is an unbearable distraction.

Between his pontificating rifts of name-dropping, geography lessons, inspirational insights, psychobabble and general over the top melodrama, he occasionally notices that there is a game in progress.

I, and most folks in the West who follow Pac-12 college basketball, cringe when it is revealed that Mr. Walton will be part of the broadcast team. Some completely turn off the game or killed the sound or spend a few hours screaming at the TV for Bill to shut up — please.

Do these network executives think that college basketball is so inherently boring that they need to throw in a clown act in order to hold our attention? Do they not understand that Bill’s endless rambling digressions hit us viewers like fingernails on a chalkboard? Do they really think that Bill’s bullying sparing with his play-by-play partner is cute or somehow enhances the game experience. The straight up answer to all of the above is absolutely NO.

Please network executives, if you think Bill is somehow indispensable to your sports family let Bill live on some pregame or postgame show where he can exhibit his broad contextual talents uninterrupted by an actual game in progress — please.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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