LOS ANGELES — Hours before Game 6 of the NBA Finals in Cleveland on Thursday night, Bill Walton is 2,300 miles away trying to take his mind off the contest by walking around the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
He’s playing in a Street Fighter V tournament, grabbing rebounds on the NBA 2K17 court and taking photos with characters from Tekken 7. He’s immersing himself in his newest passion — esports — while his son, Luke, prepares to possibly win his second straight championship as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.
“I’ve been going to all the home games,” Bill Walton said. “I was sure they would win it Tuesday [in Game 5]. I’ve never been surer of anything in my life, but I hope they win it tonight. I want what’s best for Luke. I love the Warriors. Stephen Curry is my favorite player. I just love the style of the Warriors and the culture of the Warriors. They epitomize what’s great about sports, what’s great about the NBA and great about life. I’m so proud, fortunate, lucky and happy Luke is able to be a part of that.”
Walton has been traveling to Oakland, California, for the Warriors’ home games during the NBA Finals, and he will be there Sunday if there is a Game 7. However, Walton hopes it doesn’t come down to that. He wants to watch his son win his fourth overall title (he also won two as a player) as he sits in front of a television set in Los Angeles.
“I will be watching with the family tonight and I want the Warriors to win tonight,” Walton said. “If I yell loud enough at the television I know the Warriors will win.”
While Walton was walking around E3, most of the fans coming up to him to take pictures and ask for autographs were congratulating him on Luke becoming the Los Angeles Lakers‘ new head coach. Luke is expected to be officially introduced by the Lakers in a news conference next week.
“Wow, what an incredible opportunity,” Bill Walton said. “We’re from Southern California and we love Southern California and the Lakers. For Luke to have that position as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, wow, it doesn’t get any better. It’s overwhelming, it’s staggering and it’s awe-inspiring. I’m the proudest and luckiest dad in the whole world. What a Father’s Day.”