Pac-12 Networks and ESPN have teamed up to welcome Hall of Famer and UCLA legend Bill Walton back to the broadcasting chair with a nine-school road trip and speaking tour across the Pac-12 Conference that includes a stop at the University of Arizona on Feb. 6. The talk, which will be free and open to the public, and co-sponsored by the UA School of Journalism, will begin at 10 a.m. in Biological Sciences West, Room 301.
Journalism major Megan Mohler, who is active in a new sports journalism club launched in the School of Journalism this year, will introduce Walton. Journalism professor Kevin R. Kemper, who teaches the sports journalism course, will lead a Q&A and moderate the discussion.
With an array of experiences gained over a 13-year NBA career, followed by decades of success and struggles both personally and professionally, Walton has used the tour to share his story and belief in the college experience with students at campuses around the conference. At other campus stops, Walton has discussed topics ranging from his success on the court and relationship with legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden to overcoming a speech impediment, thoughts of suicide and current life as an entrepreneur and broadcaster. He’ll be in Tucson to broadcast the UA men’s basketball game vs. Stanford.
"Over so many years, I've chased my dreams to UCLA, then on to the NBA for 14 years and have followed that up with a wide-range and varied business and media career ever since," said Walton. "The wild roller coaster ride of remarkable highs and lows, successes and failures, hope and disappointment has now brought me back to where I belong – to the beginning, where lives are built – college."
Walton, who earned Naismith College Player of the Year and was a three-time NCAA First Team All-American under head coach John Wooden at UCLA, makes his return to broadcasting this season, covering college basketball as an analyst for Pac-12 Networks and ESPN following a two‐year hiatus. Walton’s stops at Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, Washington, Stanford and Cal will coincide with his broadcast duties with ESPN, calling a game during his visit.
In March, he will call four of the Pac-12 Networks’ eight conference tournament games from Las Vegas. Previously, Walton spent 21 years providing commentary on the NBA, NCAA Final Four and Olympics basketball games for a variety of networks, including ABC/ESPN, NBC, CBS, FOX, MSNBC and Turner Sports.