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Bill Walton: “I had a life that was not worth living. I was on the floor and unable to move”

"There was never any doubting Bill Walton’s passions, not while the ball was bouncing, the cameras were rolling and the microphone was on," Howard Beck writes, adding, "Words and opinions flowed freely, to a boisterous rhythm that was instantly identifiable. A player was never just great — he was the greatest Walton had ever seen. A referee’s call was not just bad — it was ‘horrrrible.’ Boundless hyperbole was part of the fun. And no one seemed to have as much fun calling N.B.A. games as Walton did for 19 years. It would take something extreme to rip Walton from the press table and push him into virtual solitude. It happened in February 2008. A back injury sustained decades ago had become a chronic, intensely painful condition that was destroying Walton’s spirit. ‘I had a life that was not worth living,’ Walton said Thursday. ‘I was on the floor and unable to move.”’

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