Make no mistake about it, Bill Walton can say some pretty WTF kind of stuff.
Sometimes what comes out of Bill’s mouth can immediately be cast as hyperbole. But sometimes it’s not really clear whether Bill is high as a kite or just showing off his amazing vocabulary, imagination, historical knowledge or just making sure the viewers are actually paying attention.
Remember when Bill went off on some tangent about Boris Diaw and the romantics, saying something about how Boris changed the Suns franchise?
Well if you don’t, behold this:
This was the beefiest part of what Walton wrote about Sheed (remember this was written in 2003):
“Wallace is a chronic underachiever, a malcontent, a disruptive force, a negative personality — and that does not even begin to address his selfishness, emotional immaturity, bitterness and endless anger. I have also personally found him to be a boor and a bully. Those of us with the misfortune of ever having anything to do with this lost soul had to unfortunately accept the lunacy and obnoxious behavior of this sad and pathetic individual.”
The reason for the harsh words might you ask:
“It has taken many years, but I finally found something that Richard Nixon said that makes sense. In some recently released tapes, the Tricky One said that he found Ronald Reagan to be “strange” and that “on a personal basis, is terrible” and “just isn’t pleasant to be around.”
I feel the same way about Rasheed Wallace. It is difficult to imagine, fathom or comprehend the thought processes that led to ‘Sheed’s despicable comments last week, where he accused the NBA of exploiting young players (saying the NBA drafts young players who are “dumb and dumber”) and called out NBA commissioner David Stern (saying “I see behind the false screens. I know what this business is all about. I know the commissioner of this league makes more than three-quarters of the players in this league.”
Jay King had this to offer up about Walton’s comments:
“Walton describes Rasheeed with such venom in his words that it’s hard not to believe at least some of what he says. In classic Walton fashion, he certainly overstated every point he was making. Still, mostly everything that Walton has ever said has some basis in truth. To make a prime example, when Walton described Tony Parker’s turnover as “the worst pass in the history of western civilization,” he was clearly using hyperbole, stretching the truth to another level altogether. Nonetheless, Parker’s pass was a bad pass and should never have been thrown.”
“At the same time, Walton had to have a reason for his brutal verbal attack on Rasheed Wallace. You don’t go off on that big of a tangent against somebody unless they have really upset you. Wallace’s behavior, in Walton’s eyes, threatened to tear the Blazer’s apart and was a disgrace to the game of basketball. On the court and off the court, Rasheed failed to live up to his end of the bargain. He didn’t give maximum effort on the court and also got into trouble off it. ”
“But reading this article has dimmed my expectations. I now have a few doubts about Wallace. I have always known about his time as a malcontent, but seeing it described with such outright animosity has given me pause. Maybe it’s just the musings of the exaggeratory Walton.
Or maybe it’s a small semblance of the truth. Because Walton makes outrageous claims and absurd remarks, but all of them have at least a kernel of truth.
Rasheed probably isn’t as “sad and pathetic” a person as Walton’s article would lead you to believe.
But he definitely isn’t an angel, either. “
Good analysis by Jay King.
And very interesting thoughts by Bill.
Before Sheed’s whole attitude problem/meltdown with Flip Saunders happened (you know what I’m talking about, Sheed not joining the team in the huddle- not talking to Flip etc-), I would have had to say that Walton’s comments about Sheed were pretty pathetic, moronic and way to harsh.
But after Sheed behaved the way he did with Flip, and how he gave up this past season, I can certainly understand where Bill is coming from.
This one last thing Bill said in his column about Sheed really sums it up for me:
“Playing in the NBA is a privilege that ‘Sheed has dismissed and abrogated.”
Bill hit the nail on the head with that one.
And I think many Piston fans would agree.