Walton visits Arizona, old stomping grounds for son Luke

An ordinary father wouldn’t visit his son’s college nearly a decade after his child graduated, but “ordinary” and “Bill Walton” are two words that are rarely paired together.

Walton spent Wednesday morning speaking at the University of Arizona, the alma mater of his son, Luke, who played for the Arizona Wildcats basketball team from 1999 to 2003.

Walton, a basketball analyst for the Pac-12 Networks, is on a bus tour visiting various college campuses across the Pac-12 Conference.

[Related: Bus tour brings Walton back to his roots]

His tour focuses on life lessons, with a little bit of basketball in between. “My wife Lori told me that my mind is like a slot machine: the wheels are turning and you never know where it’s going,” Walton said.

Walton reminisced about his upbringing in San Diego, being introduced to basketball by his first coach, Frank "Rocky" Graciano, as well as playing for the late John Wooden at UCLA. “They never taught basketball, they taught life,” Walton said about the two coaches.

Walton cited Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. as personal heroes of his. “They were people who stood tall for others. One of the biggest problems we have is that we are afraid to stand tall and are afraid that people will criticize and challenge us.”

The joyful Walton elaborated on the positive message he is trying to bring to college students across the West Coast. “Your job is to search out the positive direction of the world,” he told the audience.

At the end of his talk, Walton provided the crowd with one main message to take home: “Your challenge is go and find who are the top professors at your school; it doesn’t matter what they teach," he said. “When you live in a world of start-ups, go search for and learn from the master teachers.”

Eitan Cramer is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

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