T.J. SIMERS

Bill Walton never takes a timeout from talking

More Wooden: "He always said, 'Walton, you're the slowest learner I have ever had.' There are 15 words in his Pyramid of Success and it took him 14 years to put them together."

On hard work: "It's the most overrated thing in the world. That's a [given]; if you're not going to work hard you have no chance."

Jerry Tarkanian: "One of the tragedies in the world is that Jerry is not in the basketball Hall of Fame."

On suicide: "I was Junior Seau. My life was over. I was standing on the edge of the bridge [ready to jump]. If I had a gun I would have used it. I was on my back on the floor for three years with pain that I can only describe like maybe being submerged in scalding acid with an electric current running through it."

On chasing a dream: "My brother Bruce and I are the only brother combination to have played in a Super Bowl and won an NBA title. And our parents were the most unathletic people you've ever seen. If you're sitting back and thinking, 'My parents blew this for me,' that's not how it works. It's on you."

On whether college athletes should be paid: "The NCAA provided me with a fantastic opportunity. I was taught how to learn."

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: "Kareem was the best player I played against and by far. It's appropriate his statue in front of Staples is 13 feet tall because that's pretty much what it was like playing against him."

Jamaal Wilkes: "Denny Crum wanted Coach Wooden to see Wilkes play in high school. Coach Wooden wanted to stay home with his family. Crum convinced Coach to go and then Jamaal stinks it up. Coach Wooden is mad at Denny for wasting his time, but Denny convinces him to go back. And Jamaal is fantastic. Now they're retiring his jersey. You never know how the game of life is going to play out. When you get your chance go for it. Don't call time out."

Bob Knight: "Imagine if Bob Knight was your first coach, a bully, a boor, vulgar, violent and negative. I would have quit."

The Lakers: "The Lakers are injured. They will be fine. They will win the championship. Who is better? The Lakers have the best players."

Pau Gasol: "As soon as the Lakers got him, the flowers bloomed and they won championships."

Trash talkers: "The greatest I ever saw were Larry Bird and John Wooden."

Walton's issue with stuttering: "My greatest accomplishment was learning how to speak, which is now your worst nightmare."

As the evening continued, Walton gave everyone in the room his phone number and email address. He told them to study successful people, find a mentor and live the dream.

"I do every day," he said.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

Connect
Advertisement

VIDEO