Bill Walton may have attended UCLA, but at least part of his heart has always been in Berkeley.
The son of a Cal alum, Walton has spent many nights at the Greek Theatre watching his favorite band, The Grateful Dead, perform. His spirit, his philosophies - ooze the Berkeley culture. He even told UCLA basketball coach John Wooden he planned on spending the spring quarter in Berkeley every year (never happened).
That's why Walton was (and is always) in his element when he was on campus Wednesday. Prior to calling the Bears' game against Stanford on ESPN2, Walton addressed about 150students in the Haas Pavilion club room as part of his "Bill Walton Pac-12 Campus Tour," which took him to all 12 campuses during the past 10 weeks. Cal was the final stop on his journey.
"This is Berkeley, where anything is possible," Walton said during his 75-minute appearance. "This is where civilization began."
Walton touched on a variety of topics, telling stories about his time at UCLA and in the NBA, but also sharing inspirational messages with the students. Walton implored the students to make the most of their time in college and prepare themselves for the future.
"I was the highest-paid player in team sports, and my quality of life went down," Walton said of his time with the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. "That's how great UCLA was."
The talk was moderated by Cal radio voice Todd McKim. Walton also took a few questions from students.
Walton reminisced about a charmed childhood, one that ended with major college programs doting over him. It continued on when he arrived at UCLA, where he was named National Player of the Year three times and led the Bruins to two NCAA championships.
"I was 21 before I encountered someone who didn't have my best interest at heart," Walton said.
Walton had fun with the Cal crowd, saying about the upcoming game: "The trees of Stanford have come. The fate of the world as we know it lies in the balance."
After his remarks, a huge line formed for autographs and pictures with Walton.
Walton traveled over 3,500 miles total during his bus tour.