RIP Bill Walton

Wed, May 29th, 2024

The Opening Tip

  • Long live Bill Walton

  • Luka is Luka’ing

  • A humble man vs. a water bottle

Tomorrow’s playoff game

1. The Grip Reads: The Breaks of the Game

The great Bill Walton died on Monday of cancer. It’s a blow to lose a true one-of-one person, especially at only 71 years old, but the comfort comes in the 100s of reverent tributes to him -- from the most famous people in the world to some Twitter guy who’s day Walton made two decades ago.

He has been the subject of many books, documentaries and conversations over the years, but the best portrayal of him, in our eyes, comes from David Halberstam’s “The Breaks of the Game,” which paints Bill Walton not as the beloved hippie grandpa -- a version of Walton which fucking ruled -- but as the counterculture, politically-inclined and mainstream-rejected version of Walton of the late 1970s.

The book centers around the Trail Blazers in the melancholy years after their magical 1977 title season, when injuries and shoddy team doctors turned Walton into a skeptical and depressed surgically-half-repaired version of himself.

Walton was interviewed about the book on The Press Box podcast three years ago. He started by saying he never read the book because it made him too sad. Then he talked about the 1977 Blazers for 40 straight minutes.

Buy it here.

[READ: Bill Walton let his joy flourish]

2. Daily GIF: OK

This kind of shit is the reason the Mavericks are never out of a game.

Edit: Luka missed the free throw and the Wolves finally won a game last night.

Minnesota’s also a 4.5-point favorite on Thursday.

3. Trivia

Who is the last defending champ to make it past the second round?

• Warriors in 2023

• Bucks in 2022

• Nuggets in 2024

• Warriors in 2019

Guess, click and see if you're right.

4. Struggle. Persistence. Triumph.

The best matchup of last night’s game was this fella vs. his water bottle.

Quick hits

  • Look at Kyle Anderson direct this entire play, which led to a clutch 3 by KAT. 

  • Bronny James, who averaged 4.8 PPG for a bad college team, is staying in the NBA draft and forgoing his college eligibility. 

  • The 76ers are open to maxing out Jimmy Butler.

  • Caitlin Clark dropped a career-high 30 points last night. 

  • FYI: A Suns fan and a Mavs fan have been hurling the same point and counterpoint at each other on Twitter since at least April. 

  • OKC GM Sam Presti on the Gordon Hayward trade: ‘I missed on that’

  • Ant on Mike Conley: ‘Mike Conley is here, and he’s old as fuck’

  • Mike Conley on Ant, who claims he’s always called Mike Conley ‘Bite Bite:’ ‘I’ve never heard him call me that before. Ever.’


  • An honest scouting report of Bronny James [The Ringer]

  • Its future in doubt, the freewheeling ‘Inside the NBA’ is on edge instead [NY Times]

That's the buzzer.
Thanks for reading the 386th edition of The Grip.