Walton left Portland in 1979 in truly ugly fashion, as expertly documented in David Halberstam's The Breaks of the Game. Walton, who suffered a foot injury which denied the Blazers an opportunity for a repeat championship in 1978 and destroyed his career, accused Portland doctors and staff of malpractice on his way out, suing close friends in the process.
And now, he tells Portland he's sorry.
The Oregonian's Jason Quick documents Walton's return to Rip City, where Big Red is working on some charitable activities. Walton met with Blazers staff, and let loose.
Blazers ambassador Bill Schonely, who was the team's broadcaster when Walton played and has remained friends with him, was at the staff meeting.It's closure Walton no doubt needs ... and that Blazers fans deserve. But again, allow me to be selfish once again. We need more of this on the TV during Mavs-Spurs or whatever.
"He was very, very emotional," Schonely said. "He apologized for the things he did in the past. You know, he's 56 now, and we all grow up. But I know he is sincere. And he was close to death, and that tends to make you think about things. Now that he's making a comeback, I think he thought there's nothing he could do but apologize."
"I went from thinking I was going to die, to wanting to die, to being afraid I was going to live, to now seeing rainbows, Calliopes, clowns, and dreams of a better tomorrow," Walton said.He sees rainbows, Calliopes, clowns and dreams of a better tomorrow, people. He's back. Bill Walton is back.