Bill Walton choked up during Thursday night’s ESPN2 broadcast of UCLA/Washington in Seattle. During the “Walton’s World” segment he recounted the story of Huskies’ walk-on Connor Smith and was overcome by a combination of emotions which included fatherhood, youth, opportunity and Pac-12 pride. It was a uniquely Walton moment. The broadcast quickly cut away to allow the UCLA legend to compose himself.
Walton and Smith developed a quick bond earlier this year over back surgery:
The two were chatting before a game Walton worked earlier this season when the subject of Smith’s back surgery came up, a plight with which Walton sympathized, having undergone major back operations himself. So Walton asked Smith for his email address and sent him an article he wrote about his own medical experiences. “Bill Walton and I, we’re homies,” Smith said wryly. “Without this whole experience, I wouldn’t have ever been able to talk to people like that.”
As if you needed another reminder, Bill Walton is a cool dude.