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June 5, 2023

Bill Walton goes on rant about Covid, empty basketball arenas

Bill Walton goes on rant about Covid, empty basketball arenas

1. You never know what you’re going to get from Bill Walton when he calls a college basketball game for ESPN.

During last night’s Oregon-UCLA game, he compared the transfer portal to Tinder, had no idea that he had once won the Sixth Man Award in the NBA and went off about people complaining about fans not being in the stands for games because of COVID-19.

Walton’s partner, the excellent Dave Pasch innocently asked Walton a question during the broadcast. In a vintage Walton move, he responded by asking Pasch why he was asking him a question. Pasch explained that Walton is the analyst on the broadcast and that he had no one else to ask questions to because nobody else was in the arena.

That was all Walton needed to go off.

“I’m tired of your complaints about that,” Walton fired back.

Pasch said he wasn’t complaining, but was trying to let fans tuning into the game know that UCLA isn’t allowing fans in the arena for the time being. However, Walton forged ahead.

“There’s a PANDEMIC going on. Please. There are public health issues.”

Pasch then tried to explain UCLA’s policy, but Walton wasn’t interested.

“There’s not fans in the building because people are dying of COVID and people are concerned about that,” he said.

Pasch, God bless him, again attempted to explain the UCLA policy, but it was fruitless because Walton was on a roll.

“Well, are we gonna listen to the doctors or not?” he asked. “Isn’t that kinda why we’re in this ongoing program? Because people don’t listen to the doctors. Are you part of the problem or the solution?”

And then it happened.

A “Walton Moment” became a true “Walton Moment” thanks to some incredible timing.

Right after he asked, “Are you part of the problem or the solution?” he yelled, “THROW IT DOWN!” as a player missed a slam dunk.

The man literally went from saying “people are dying of COVID” to “THROW IT DOWN” in a matter of seconds.

Absolute perfection.

2. We told you in yesterday’s Traina Thoughts about Bill Belichick’s wearing a “Danger Zone” sweatshirt to his press conference a couple of days ago. This was ripe material for Good Morning Football’s Kyle Brandt, who gave a spectacular performance on Friday’s show.

3. It took a few years, but Tom Brady has weighed in on that dumb story line from the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles when Brady didn’t shake Nick Foles’s hand and people got all worked up for some reason.

Watch NFL games online all season long with fuboTV: Start with a 7-day free trial!

4. Julian Edelman is doing some promotion for a sports betting company in which they gave him $100,000 to bet on a Patriots-Bucs Super Bowl. He’s making the most of the content game surrounding the wager as you’ll see with this video.

5. One note for any of my fellow degenerates who plan on placing a wager this weekend: Underdogs are 15–3 in the wild-card round since 2017.

6. A brand-new SI Media Podcast dropped this morning and this week’s show features an interview with Richard Deitsch, who previously hosted the show. Deitsch, who now works for The Athletic, discussed the state of podcasts, what makes a good podcast and what makes a good host. We also talked about sports media news items, including the disappointing ratings for the college football national title game and the NFL’s being set up for a monster postseason when it comes to viewership.

In the weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment of the podcast, Sal Licata, from WFAN and SNY TV in New York, and I discuss the NFL wild-card matchups, sports betting coming to New York, Cobra Kai and much more.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify and Stitcher.

Please remember to subscribe to the SI Media Podcast and leave a review on Apple.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Happy 68th birthday to “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, who along with Yokozuna, was the catalyst for the most ridiculous performance of Vince McMahon’s entire broadcasting career.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.

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