NBA Legend Bill Walton is 'The Luckiest Guy In The World' in 'ESPN 30 For 30' docuseries

ByJordan Arseneau Localish logo
Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Bill Walton is 'The Luckiest Guy In The World' in new ESPN docuseries
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From breaking records in high school and at UCLA to breaking bones and winning NBA championships, 'The Luckiest Guy In The World' covers the exciting life of Bill Walton.

CHICAGO -- Acclaimed Chicago-based director Steve James has made a career creating documentaries, most famously the award winning "Hoop Dreams" released in 1994. When ESPN approached him a few years ago to direct a docuseries on the life of NBA legend Bill Walton, it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.

"After I read his memoir 'Back From The Dead,' I was like okay I'm totally in," said James, who followed Walton's career as a young player himself. "I think he's had just a remarkable life."

The "ESPN 30 For 30" docuseries, titled "The Luckiest Guy In The World," tracks Walton's winning streaks through high school and at UCLA to his successful but injury-filled career in the NBA.

"This is a guy who during the course of a 14-year NBA career played a total of about 4 years," said James. "He's been through a lot in his life, but he's come to this belief that he's 'the luckiest guy in the world.'"

James says the gregarious and verbose Walton that basketball fans know today is in stark contrast to his early days as a shy and withdrawn player battling a stutter.

"The young Bill, he did not like to do interviews if you believe that now," said James. "It's like for the first part of Bill's life, he didn't speak and once he got over his stutter, he has not stopped talking since."

The docuseries will also cover Walton's outspoken views on the the Vietnam War and his undying love of the psychedelic rock group The Grateful Dead. James says current NBA watchers may mostly know Walton for broadcasting career, but he's hoping to shed light on his dominance as a player.

"A lot of young basketball fans have no idea what a great player he was," said James. "When he was healthy he was one of the great players in the game."

Episodes one and two of "ESPN 30 For 30: The Luckiest Guy In The World" premiered Tuesday June 6 at 7 p.m. CT followed by episodes three and four on Tuesday, June 13 at 7 p.m. Episodes will be made available on ESPN+ immediately after their premiere.

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