Saturday, September 26, 2020

Bill Walton Pays Respect to Fellow Big Passer Nikola Jokic


GQ – "Bill Walton Pays Tribute to Nikola Jokic’s “Flow”"

"He’s just a very interesting player and super fun to watch. He looks like he’d be really fun to play with. He looks like a great teammate and a spectacularly skilled player who plays to win. And he can do so many different things. He’s big, strong, powerful, mobile, skilled, intelligent, creative, collaborative. Empty the thesaurus. He’s got a lot of things going for him. He comes from a great basketball culture. And he’s got a tremendous coach right now in Mike Malone. He’s got some real nice teammates in Denver. Josh Kroenke at the top is terrific. Chris Marlowe, their broadcaster. I’m very aware of the Nuggets and the dizzying possibilities of a wonderful tomorrow. 


He’s the kind of player...he stands out. He stands out. He’s distinct. He’s unique. He’s someone who catches your eye when you watch the game because he does so many different things and I love basketball. Basketball is an expression of who you are and it’s a celebration of a world as it could and should be. And when you watch, he does things that put a smile on your face. And he sees things and he anticipates and he has a plan, he has an approach, he has a sense of what he’s doing, what he’s trying to accomplish. Why he wants it and then how he’s gonna get it done. He’s an interesting, exciting, and foundational pillar for the future. 


Q: When you think about Nikola, do any particular passes come to mind? 

A: No, because all of his plays, whether it’s his three-point shooting, whether it’s his rebounds, whether it’s his tipped balls to a teammate, in any situation, whatever he’s doing, it’s always based on the flow. In life we search for the flow and the glow, but we also search for growth. And when you’re playing basketball, which is never static, every single play in basketball is unique because of the other nine guys on the court and because of the refs. Because of the stakes, because of the circumstances, and the decision making of the brilliant players. He puts a smile on my face. And I glow. There’s a warmth in my heart. It’s fun. It’s creative, it’s imaginative, and they’re winning. Although they’re not winning right now. 


Q: They have a lot of talent and just about everyone is playing great at the right time. It’s also a lot of fun to see the different ways Jokic’s passing elevates everyone else even higher. 

A: The nicest thing anybody ever said about me as a basketball player was that I make my teammates play better. My hero was Bill Russell. To this day. On and off the court. That’s what he did. He made his teammates better. They were good. He made them better. Nikola does so many things. There’s nothing he can’t do. Now the challenge’s the same challenge for everybody: keep it going. It’s always about the next game and that ability to sustain. "

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