In General, Walker Can Deal With Losing
Most athletes wouldn’t call it a dream job, but Eric Walker doesn’t mind getting paid to lose every night.
Walker, who played basketball at Southern California College last season, is a new member of the Washington Generals, the comedic foil for the Harlem Globetrotters.
“This is like a dream coming true for me,” Walker said. “I never even played basketball in high school, and to get a chance to play with some of the most talented guys in the world . . .”
Walker, 22, returned last weekend from a two-week tour of France with the Globetrotters. He said he was granted a sabbatical from his direct marketing job in Irvine.
“I’ve been very lucky,” Walker said. “I wanted to pursue my basketball career and they have been very supportive and understanding here.”
Walker said he has received plenty of breaks along the way.
“I went to Sacramento State as a freshman and played one semester on the basketball team just by a fluke,” Walker said. “Some friends of mine asked me to play with them in a [recreation] league, and it just so happened that a Sac State assistant was there watching his nephews play. So that’s how it started.”
Walker transferred to Consumnes River College to play for two seasons before he moved on to SCC.
“Coach [Bill] Reynolds meant a lot to me,” Walker said. “He taught me so much.”
And now Walker’s taking those skills on the road.
“In France, it was mind-boggling how different it was,” Walker said. “I mean when you’re here, the Globetrotters are a big deal but it’s not that big, right? We have the NBA and everything. But over there, the people are so excited. It’s like we’re gods or something. It’s crazy.”
The Globetrotters always play in a crazy variety of venues.
“The last leg of the U.S. tour, we played in places as big as the Omni in Atlanta, the Forum, the Pond, to small little high school gyms,” Walker said. “This one place we played in Biloxi, Miss., reminded me of the Pit.”
The Pit is SCC’s home gym, which seats a little more than 1,000.
“But those small places are the most fun because you get to interact with the fans more,” Walker said.
Walker said he plans to continue to play with the Generals and will attend training camp in August before the bulk of the tour begins in December and runs through March.
“We do a lot of traveling, but I like it,” he said. “It’s been different than what I expected too. It’s funny because kids will come up to us and ask us for autographs. I thought we’d be the dogs, but they want to take pictures with us too. We’re all part of the show.”