NBA Legend Bill Walton Confesses He Wanted to Die

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2012

WESTWOOD, CA - JUNE 26:  Former UCLA and NBA player Bill Walton attends the memorial for former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden June 26, 2010 at Pauley Pavilion on the University of California Los Angeles campus in Westwood, California. Wooden died June 4 at the age of 99. Wooden coached the Bruins basketball team for 27 years and won 10 NCAA championships.  (Photo by Allen J. Schaben-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

In a very eye-opening interview with Sports Illustrated, former NBA player, broadcaster and all-around good person Bill Walton confided that his chronic back pain had him contemplating suicide.

Walton's back pain is what drove him from the announce table, and led to the past three years without Walton at a broadcast table, and all of our ears and minds feeling a bit sadder for the loss.

A bit over the top at times, Walton was always a very knowledgeable basketball mind, and his constantly positive outlook has this news coming as quite a bit of a shock.

The words that Walton put it in, however, give us a look at just how bad his back pain was prior to 2009 surgery, and what lows it pushed him to.

When you are in unrelenting, excruciating and debilitating pain that never goes away for years on end, your life is over. You go through the stages of thinking you are going to die to wanting to die to the worst possible stage of all which is: I'm going to live and this is what I'm stuck with.

Walton's surgery in 2009 gave him a new outlook on life, and after having more metal screwed and ratcheted into him than a Smart Car, Walton says he's pain free and feeling as healthy as he's been since high school.

It's a miracle what has happened to me. I have no pain. I take no medication. I had no idea what life was like without back pain.

Not only is that terrific news for Walton, but it's terrific news for the NBA world in general. Walton has returned to the broadcast booth by-and-by, putting in a few nights here and there as a color commentator for both the NBA and college basketball.



Ready or not NBA fans, Bill has his first game of the season tonight in Sacramento for the Kings

— lori M walton (@loriMwalton) December 7, 2012




Bill has his first Pac 12 game tonight at ucla. He said Coach always had this same stern look when he played for him!…

— lori M walton (@loriMwalton) December 29, 2012


Whether you're a fan of Walton's eloquent, sometimes overly flowery broadcast style, it's undeniable that he tends to be one of the most likable characters in sports.

Aside from getting back into the broadcasting game, Walton is working on a long-winded memoir with Simon & Schuster. Something tells me that this book, coming from such a classical human being, is going to escort in an age of Romanticism in basketball memoirs.

Or something like that.