The secret to outthinking the opposition and overcoming many of life’s obstacles can be found on the hardwood, basketball great Bill Walton told the Fordham University men’s basketball team and a group of its boosters on Nov. 6.
“Basketball, like life, is a game of skill, timing and position,” Walton told the gathering of about 350 people at the basketball team’s tip-off dinner held at Tavern on the Green in Central Park. “It’s about the confidence that will allow you to convince your opponent that they have no chance to win.”
Walton, a former member of the Portland Trailblazers and Boston Celtics who was inducted to the NBA Hall of Fame in 1993, discussed how he overcame a speech impediment through hard work and lessons he learned from his college basketball coach at UCLA, John Wooden.
“Everything coach Wooden said came prophetically true — it’s not how big you are, it’s how you play,” said Walton, now a game analyst for ABC Sports and ESPN. “Be quick, but don’t hurry. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”
“I say to the young people I see here tonight that you can use basketball to get all that you want out of life,” Walton said. “Look at me. I had a horrendous speech problem and today I’m doing a job I love. Work hard and you’ll succeed. It’s what [Fordham] coach Dereck Whittenburg wants for this team.”