CHICAGO – Basketball legend and Hall of Famer Bill Walton will work alongside Jason Benetti in the NBC Sports Chicago television booth for the Chicago White Sox-Los Angeles Angels game on Friday, August 16 at Angel Stadium (9:07 p.m. CT).
Walton, 66, has worked for CBS, NBC, ABC, ESPN, FOX, MSNBC, Turner Sports, KCAL, NESN and the NBA Network during his broadcasting career, which began in 1990. In 2009, Walton was named by the American Sportscasters Association as one of the top 50 sports broadcasters of all time.
Benetti and Walton previously worked together at the Maui Jim Maui Invational in November 2018.
"Doing a game with Bill Walton is a gift,” said Benetti. “His mind is a playground, an orchestra and a volcano all rolled into one. It is impossible to think of someone who takes the audience and his broadcast partner on more of a journey through the world, and to have that next to me is an honor and a treat."
When told of Benetti’s comment announcing “this epic, monumental and historic upcoming event of the double millennium,” Walton, found in the desert, in the middle of a massive lava flow, on his bike, on yet another hard climb said, "Whoa! The pressure is on now, but please, set your standards higher, Jason. And here I thought all along I was a trembling and exploding rainbow, morphing into a bus stop. I guess I’m going to have to reinvent myself one more time.
“Anyway, take me out to the ballgame, put me in Coach, I’m ready to play today. California, preaching on the burning shore, California, knock, knockin’ on the golden door. Please, where is the game, what time does it start, who’s playing, what sport is it, and what’s your name again? Give me a chord, and I’m on my way,” Walton said. “I hope the noise in my head is not bothering you.”
As a player, Walton was a three-time National Player of the Year at UCLA, where he averaged 20.3 points, 15.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists, and led the Bruins to two NCAA titles (1972-73), as well as a record 88-game winning streak from 1972-74.
He was selected No. 1 overall by Portland in the 1974 NBA draft, led the Trail Blazers to their only world championship in 1977 and was named NBA Most Valuable Player in 1978. Walton won a second NBA title with Boston in 1986, when he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
Walton is one of only four players in basketball history to win multiple NCAA and NBA championships, and he and his son, Luke, are the only father/son combination to win multiple NBA titles. Walton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 and in 1996 was voted one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history.
A noted music aficionado, he was selected in 2001 as the inaugural inductee into the Grateful Dead Hall of Honor.
Steve Stone, the White Sox television analyst, has the Angels series off.
NBC Sports Chicago’s game night coverage gets underway at 8:30 p.m. with “White Sox Pregame Live.” This game and every White Sox telecast on NBC Sports Chicago is also available for live streaming to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at NBCSportsChicago.com and the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app.