Apr 19, 2010, 10:46 PM EDT
This story talks to some big issues: The price professional athletes pay with their bodies for our entertainment, the treatment of chronic pain by our medical establishment, the effect of that pain on the human condition.
Bill Walton admitted in an interview with the San Diego Tribune that his back pain actually got so bad he considered ending his own life.
Walton, one of the all-time-great basketball players, a man whose intelligence and enthusiasm enabled him to roll over every pothole in his past and find success in most every endeavor he’s undertaken, admits the incredible pain brought about by a bad back took him to the brink, where he contemplated taking his own life.
“I’m getting back into the game of life,” Walton, throwing both of his long arms in the air, was saying as we sat outside his San Diego home. “I have a new life now. It got to the point where my life wasn’t worth living. I was standing on the edge of the bridge, figuring it was better to jump than to go back to where I was.”
New back pain procedures helped improve his condition and his outlook (the story goes into this in enough detail to make you think a PR company helped write it).
Walton had advantages many of us don’t. He had family — his wife in particular — for support. He has money. He had options that most Americans do not.
It’s hard not to be happy for Walton, a legend on the court and a bigger than life personality, but it makes you think about the bigger picture.
- PBT Extra: Previewing Heat/Spurs NBA Finals Game 7 0
- Utah Jazz bring back Jerry Sloan as team consultant 3
- Celtics, Clippers restart Doc Rivers-Kevin Garnett trades talks at Chris Paul’s wish 9
- Chris Bosh to fans who left Game 6 early: ‘Don’t come back for Game 7′ 35
- Wade says left knee sore, swollen, but will play through it 16
- NBA Finals Game 6: Heat comeback in fourth, win in overtime to force Game 7 (125)
- If Spurs win, it is LeBron’s legacy that will take biggest hit (85)
- Lakers unlikely to sign and trade Dwight Howard to the Clippers, Rockets, or anyone else (81)
- Chris Bosh blocks Spurs’ Game 6 comeback attempt (video) (79)
- Heat’s Big Three dominate Game 4 to even the Finals at two games apiece (74)
- LIVE: Bruins-Blackhawks, Game 4
- Posnanski: How Heat won a game of mistakes
- PHT: Can Blackhawks solve Rask in Game 4?
- PFT: Report: Hernandez accused of prior shooting
- CSN: Report: Hernandez 'not ruled out' as suspect
- GTC: Tiger pulls out of AT&T citing elbow issue
- HBT: Biogenesis suspensions still likely coming
- Play Video: Bosh: 'We'll see who hits first'
- Play Video: Clippers, Celtics discussions 'can't be wrong'
- Play Video: Elliot looks ahead to Game 6
- Play Video: The Hype: How much would you pay to punch someone?
- Play Video: If Heat lose, 'all hell will break loose'
- Play Video: Green breaks NBA finals 3-point record