ESPN will produce a 30 for 30 documentary on Bill Walton and his NBA Championship run with the Portland Trail Blazers in 1977. The network announced the project via their PressRoom page today.
Walton played for the Trail Blazers from the time he was drafted first overall in the 1974 NBA Draft to his departure, via free agency, to the San Diego Clippers in 1979. Walton led the Blazers to the ‘77 title, earning the NBA Finals MVP award that season. He was named NBA MVP in 1978, the only Trail Blazers player to win that honor.
Walton left the franchise under a cloud, suffering from a foot injury that he blamed the team’s medical staff for exacerbating.
Here is the text of the ESPN press release:
ESPN Films today announced that production has started on a 30 for 30 documentary about iconic basketball Hall of Famer, Bill Walton. Walton, when healthy, was arguably one of the greatest centers to play the game. The ultimate competitor, Walton embraced team play over individual glory. The documentary will tell Walton’s story, from his earliest days as a high school phenom in San Diego, to his glory days at UCLA, and through his injury plagued, but stellar career with the Portland Trailblazers and the story of their 1977 NBA championship team. It will also delve deeply into Bill’s tortured history of debilitating injuries, his personal relationship with John Wooden, his love of the Grateful Dead, his politics and activism that alienated basketball fans in the ’70’s, and his final incarnation as a basketball broadcaster who regularly draws a Twitter storm.
Among the interview subjects featured in the story are Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Artis Gilmore, World B. Free, Robert Parish, Jim Gray, Luke Walton, Jamal Wilkes, Brent Musberger, Bob Ryan, and a number of close friends and teammates from Bill’s high school days to today.
The documentary will be directed by Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”), produced by Steve James & Zak Piper, and executive produced by ESPN Films.