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Bill Walton: LeBron James should play for free

May 7, 2010, 10:35 AM EDT

I’ve missed Bill Walton.

He was a larger-than-life person and personality, a great player and a broadcaster who made the game fun with hyperbole. He rubbed some people the wrong way — I’ll admit he annoyed me at times — but he always a reminder that this is a game and supposed to be fun.

Back pain knocked him down. Hard. But now he is back up, getting back into the game of life and playing evangelist for the doctor and back procedure that has him up and back in the game of life.

Oh, and he has basketball opinions, as he told the New York Times’ Howard Beck:

What I would really like to see is LeBron play for
free. There are rules that you cannot do that. You have to get a minimum
salary. Say, ‘I’ll play for the minimum, I’ll make my money in the
endorsement market — just spend the rest of the money and buy me some
real players. Pay them. And lets make a real super team. And lets change
the history of basketball…

(The Celtics have the) Best point guard in the Eastern Conference, best coach in the Eastern
Conference, best home-court advantage in the East Conference. Best
depth. Tremendous size across the front line. Fantastic individual
offense in Paul
, a phenomenal big-game finisher in Ray
and Kevin
, a historical-level figure who’s playing as well as he can,
based on his physical limitations. I see the Celtics winning the East….

But (Pau Gasol’s) game is unique, because it’s 100 percent based on skill. There’s
never any pushing, shoving. You win the championship when you have the
best player, and the Lakers have that in Kobe — Kobe and LeBron are
the two best players — and you have the best coach, Phil Jackson; and
you dominate the paint. And that’s what Pau Gasol does. And
he does it with his mind, his heart, his soul, his spirit and his
incredible skill.”

I’m fairly sure that among LeBron James’ free agent options, playing for free will not be one of them.

But the idea is fun…. I’ve missed Bill Walton.

  1. Jake - May 7, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    Sorry, but I must disagree. Bill Walton is a disillusioned fool. I for one am grateful every single day that I don’t have to hear him do color commentary anymore.

  2. ocgunslinger - May 7, 2010 at 11:36 AM

    Like him, love him or hate him Walton’s comment is well made if only meant to provoke. LeBron would have such an excellent team others would also want to join to become the super-team of the next 10 years. They would dominate beyond doubt….until the NBA was forced to prohibit such an arrangement.

  3. David - May 7, 2010 at 11:40 AM

    When the Lakers don’t win the Finals will he suggest that Kobe play for the minimum or, even better yet, his son?

  4. Hillimonster - May 7, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    AMEN!!!! brother.

  5. Keith - May 7, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    Actually the idea is great. If he were to play for the minimum and build a great team around him, he would probably make up the money in endorsements. The more championships he wins, the more endorsements he would get. As for Bill’s son play for minimum, he does not get the endorsement deals.
    I do not like listening to Bill usually either.

  6. Sal - May 7, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    The Players’ Union would poop 10 different colors of poop if LeBron tried to do that.

  7. Blazer Maniac - May 7, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    What is the matter ? Bill wouldn’t let you hold his Jock Strap Again? Walton was honest and striaght forward, probably too much for an obvious youngster like you.Get Real Bill is Da Man!

  8. Da Guru - May 7, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    LOL, yeah, this sounds like a classic case of hate. Lebron has earned every penny by being a dominant player. If anything, Luke Walton should join the Cavs and play for free, for opportunity to be part of team Lebron. Love Bill, but he says some ridunkulous things from time to time.

  9. James Wilson - May 7, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    And that’s why we need Bill Walton 24-7 you can’t buy hat kinda talk. Love it! silly but funny!

  10. Lawrence - May 7, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    1) Great college center
    2) Injury-riddled and overrated pro. Should never be listed in same sentence as Jabbar/Russell/O’Neal.
    3) Stoner – and proud of it….?
    4) Irritating sportscaster who sounds like he’s got five or six walnuts/Titleists in his his mouth.

  11. JANET HAMILTON - May 7, 2010 at 12:08 PM


  12. jeff jefferson - May 7, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    The union???? What about his agent? The agents are the ones who would “suffer” from the lack of guaranteed revenue provided by today’s lucrative salaries.

  13. Diane - May 7, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    Do you sports people have no sense of humor? My goodness, even on here, everyone is name-calling. Leave that to the pros–the politicians. Get a life, boys.

  14. antiochcat - May 7, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    I think Bill’s been hitting the shrooms again. Oh, and BTW: Bill? Heard from Patty Hearst lately?

  15. Show me the Money - May 7, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    They get a cut of the endorsement money too so I don’t think Lebron’s agent would be jumping off a skyscraper if the deal was done.
    The concern would be this, if he had indiscretions like, oh, let’s say, Tiger, there goes teh endorsement money with nothing to fall back on. Boo Hoo

  16. mjazzh - May 7, 2010 at 12:51 PM

    Lebron…come to the Jazz and play with the best point guard in the league…Deron Williams

  17. Anonymous - May 7, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    i miss bill too. he and bill russell were the two most exciting players i personally had a chance to watch. it was their large bony play that especially intrigued me: they were like hungry spiders out there on the court, attacking,grabbing, swatting basketballs, flinging them to open team mates running down the court then flailing arms and body to post themselves on offense to feed an open man. today too many great great players are just that great statistical players.

  18. Mrbassbone - May 7, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    Boston has the deepest bench? Who is he kidding? It seems the Orlando has the deepest bench. What team is the LEAST RESPECTED in the playoffs? Orlando… What team is the ONLY TEAM STILL UNDEFEATED….Orlando. What 2 teams are “EXPECTED” to meet in the Finals? LA & Cleveland. Interesting.

  19. nocomment - May 7, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    If your going to pay a player what he’s worth, Bill Walton should have played for free. The Clippers still haven’t recuperated from his debacle with them. I always put the TV on mute when he was doing play by play.

  20. wondering - May 7, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Anyone know how much Jordan’s paycheck from the Bulls was? I am sure that he wasn’t the highest paid NBA star during his reign and made tons more from endorsements than his paycheck. I wonder how many titles he would have won if he had tried to get every penny he could from the Bulls and didn’t have had the quality teammates he had?

  21. gnipgnop - May 7, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    I’m an obese sports donkey like the rest of the mentally challenged posters on this blog. I love to hear that windy sound as I mouth breathe in front of the tv. All you donkeys on this post, we should get together and have a sausage fest.

  22. JimC - May 7, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    On political boards I expect to read posts from stupid people
    but now even sports posting is littered with morons.

  23. Harry Ball - May 7, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    Bill Walton has a point. Imagine what kind of ridiculous team you could build if every superstar on it didn’t want 20 million a year. Get 5 superstars, pay them 5 million a year a piece, game over. They’d make their money back in endorsements, TV appearances, etc. And boy would they be fun to watch.

  24. Grimblebee - May 7, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    Bill Walton is an idiot. Did he, or does his athletically challenged son Luke, play for peanuts? Why should LeBron or any player? It’s not his problem to make a good team and pay players what they deserve — it’s the gazillionaire owners’ problem. Let them give away their PERSONAL boodles to sign winning players.

  25. who - May 7, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    having a superstar team would be boring first of all. who would want to watch a team beat the whole nba? it’s the competition that makes people watch. i love game 7’s, screw sweeps.

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