A Note to ‘the Luckiest Guy in the World’ — Bill Walton

by on June 30, 2023 · 3 comments

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

Hey, Bill,
loved “The Luckiest Guy in the World”
30 on 30 documentary.
It reminded me
of when I first saw you play
in high school,
in a game
where you, excuse the cliché,
literally blew me away
as you and your crew
descended on some poor team
like a tornado,
with you
swatting their shots
away in ways
that made them
not want to take shots,

getting the ball

to teammates

right on the spot

for easy shots,

shooting an array of jump shots

and hook shots

and tipping in

missed shots,

snagging rebounds

and kickstarting fastbreaks

with passes

that seemed to come from

a slingshot.

I became one of your biggest fans

and followed you

at UCLA and in the NBA,

where you continued to amaze and dominate

in spite of, as 30 on 30 pointed out,

all the crippling injuries

and deep depression

and debilitating pain

that constantly nagged at you.

That level of overcoming

along with your stance on the social and political

issues of the time,

war and racism and sexism et al

which I, too, have stood up to,

made you a true-blue hero of mine.

But nothing has tightened my connection with you

more than seeing you on television

in my hometown, Tucson,

my formative stomping grounds,

enjoying what I grew up doing

as a boy,

riding a bike to get a feel

of all parts of the city

and hiking

in Sabino Canyon

and in the Catalinas

and among the Sahuaros,

just for the joy of it.


As I watched your story
I remembered that at about the time
you would have been settling into housing
at UCLA,
I was beginning a new venture as well,
entering my first year as a principal

at a school where so many of the kids,

as I got to know them,

would wax on enthusiastically

about the “library lady,”

your mother,

a woman they adored

at their neighborhood literary place.

And, when I met her, I agreed with them

that she was, indeed, fun and delightful

and very tall,

and made them excited about reading

and I came to love her also.

Meeting her was as much an honor
as having met you
and calling you, “The Luckiest Guy in the World,”
a friend.

And speaking of luck,
we as a world are lucky
to have you.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Gravitas June 30, 2023 at 12:45 pm

GOOD one, Ernie…AND not just a great basketball player, a great mother and fine sister, but he has a SUPER IDEA about homeless fix!!! Bill Walton for Mayor!!1. He understands the City.


Sadie June 30, 2023 at 1:14 pm

Great one Ernie!
I guess Todd didn’t like Bills ideas, because he’s now putting homeless tents near Bills home. I can’t wait to see the photo ops!


Shirley Robinson Sprinkles July 1, 2023 at 9:00 am

Great story, mi amigo! I watched the 30 On 30 show with great enthusiasm: I’m both a Bruin Alum and a Tucson Girl—a double whammy! I’d graduated before either Lew Alcindor ( Kareem Jabar) or Bill Walton came onto the floor that framed their destiny, but still feel pride in my heart when I hear their names and learn of the ways in which they contribute to humanity and the quest for a just and equitable world. One day, I hope to be counted among their ranks for my contributions to the same causes.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: