NOTHING BUT NET by Bill Walton

NOTHING BUT NET

Just Give Me the Ball and Get Out of the Way

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Hall-of-Fame cager Walton looks back at his injury-ridden college and NBA career. With the help of Los Angeles Times sportswriter Wojciechowski (Pond Scum and Vultures, 1990), Walton sticks pretty much to the game: there's only passing mention of his many battles and controversies with owners, refs, and the media; of his involvement in the Patty Hearst case; his celebrated Vietnam War protests; and his ongoing relationship with the Grateful Dead. He waxes nostalgic, though, for the good old days at UCLA (1970-74) and his two NCAA championships there, and he's unabashed in praising former coach John Wooden. He also lauds Larry Bird (the ``best player I ever played with''), Bill Russell (``the best player in the history of basketball''), Jack Ramsay, Lenny Wilkins, Jammal Wilkes, Red Auerbach and Michael Jordan, but deals glancing blows at Clyde ``The Glide'' Drexler, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, and NBA rookie Chris Webber. During his 13 years in the NBA, Walton underwent an incredible 30 operations, many of them on his feet, and calculates that he sat out nine seasons--762 games--because of injuries. Even so, he was a force in two NBA titles--with Portland in 1977, and the Boston Celtics in 1986. It wasn't all glory, however: He ``despised the level of selfishness'' on the Portland team, a criticism he aims at many of today's players. He often failed to get along with teammates, threatened to quit, and even filed a malpractice suit against the team doctor. He laments his years with the San Diego Clippers, blaming himself for the franchise's failure and eventual move to L.A. Having overcome a stutter, Walton is now an NBC analyst and broadcaster. Walton is all over the court and regrettably side-steps some issues. But it hardly matters: he's still one of the game's most interesting personalities. (Eight pages of b&w photos--not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 1994
ISBN: 1-56282-793-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1994




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