|Press Release: Bill Walton to Write His Autobiography|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bill Walton, Basketball Hall of Famer, TV Commentator and Cultural Icon,
to Write His Autobiography
New York, NY – October 3, 2012. Simon & Schuster will publish the autobiography of basketball legend and generational icon Bill Walton, tentatively titled Back from the Dead.
Bill Walton was one of the greatest, most dynamic and winningest athletes in history—and one of the most injured. He was also a serious and highly accomplished student, concerned citizen and activist who readily participated in many of the contentious social and political debates that divided America in the 1960s and ’70s. His size, stature, athletic prowess, politics and lifestyle attracted enormous media attention—and also caused great discomfort for Walton who, despite his intellect and desire to affect social change, was severely hampered in his ability to express himself because of a lifelong stuttering affliction.
Walton was a three-time College Player of the Year and Academic All-American for John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins, helping them win consecutive NCAA Championships in 1972 and ’73, and run up a still-standing record 88 consecutive victories. As a pro, Walton helped the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA Championship and was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1978. But then a long, painful and frustrating series of injuries and surgeries ensued before he was able to engineer his own deal to join the Boston Celtics and the incomparable Larry Bird, to be a part of one final championship, at age 34. Walton’s next move was truly remarkable: he conquered his lifelong debilitating stutter to become a wildly successful broadcaster for CBS, NBC and ESPN/ABC.
In 2007 Walton’s life came to a crashing halt when the accumulated injuries, stress and punishment from four decades of basketball and squeezing himself into airplanes and automobiles led to a total and catastrophic collapse of his spine. Confined to lying prone on the floor for most of three years, Walton’s famous and prodigious will to win finally gave out. A pioneering surgical procedure saved him and Walton, now healthy and back from the dead, will resume broadcasting this fall for ESPN and the Pac-12 Network.
Back from The Dead will relive all the details of Walton’s open-throttle life in and around sports, politics, media and music—he is a lifelong fan and close friend of The Grateful Dead, having attended more than 830 of their shows. A centrally important thread of Walton’s life was his special relationship with UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. No two individuals could have better defined the 1970’s generation gap: the two clashed on everything from politics to hair- and lifestyles to the war in Vietnam. Yet in the annals of sports, the success of their collaboration is unmatched to this day. And as they aged, each man grew to see greater and greater value in what he could learn from the other. They spoke almost daily for 40 years, until Wooden died in 2010 at the age of 99.
Bill Walton: “I am the luckiest person on earth. I had the greatest life imaginable, nothing but fun: the greatest teams, the biggest games, events and shows, the best teammates and family—it was all the grandest celebration of life. And then it was over—in a single day. My spine failed me and the pain was worse than anything I could have ever imagined. Knocked down, it gets to wearing thin. Getting up and going again, after three endlessly tortuous years, was the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life. The love and support of countless kind, generous and selfless people allowed me to get back into the game of life and begin the long hard climb one more time. I have been given another chance at life. With this incredible opportunity comes responsibility, duty and obligation. And that is why I am here—Back from The Dead—enjoying the ride as never before ---and writing this book.”
Jonathan Karp, executive vice-president and publisher of Simon & Schuster, acquired the rights to the book from Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C. Publication is planned for fall 2013.
Karp says, “Bill Walton is more than a legendary basketball star. He is a storyteller, a survivor, and an inspiration. Readers are going to be amazed by the extraordinary dimensions of his story.”
The book will be written with John Papanek, former writer and chief editor of Sports Illustrated, ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com. The book will be edited by S&S vice-president and senior editor Bob Bender.
Simon & Schuster, a part of CBS Corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Digital, and international companies in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at www.simonandschuster.com