Bill Walton, RIP
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The big redhead Bill Walton has died of cancer at age 71. He was a rare great jock who was also a hippie, two types that don’t usually coincide.

On the rare occasions when he was healthy, Bill Walton was a basketball genius, comparable to Larry Bird (with whom he teamed up for a memorable late career season in 1986 with the Boston Celtics). It’s a huge compliment to Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets that people who saw both Walton and Jokic play seem to think Jokic is better.

One thing to keep in mind about Walton is that he was enormous, notably taller than his listed 6′11” and with huge shoulders. Walton had a complex about being a seven-footer, so he was a rare player to downplay his actual height. I once followed Walton down Rush Street in Chicago on a weekend evening for a number of blocks. I enjoyed watching young ladies walk past him, then do a double take as they realized his size.

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