Chat with Bill Walton
A three-time college player of the year at UCLA, Walton also won two national titles.
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, basketball hall of famer Bill Walton stops by to chat about the NBA season, as well as his appearance on ABC's "Shark Tank" Friday night (8 p.m. ET) during the show's season premiere.
Walton, a 10-year NBA veteran, MVP and two-time champion, is helping Dave Mayer and his "Clean Bottle" product in ABC's show celebrating entrepreneurs. Walton and Mayer will try to impress the "sharks" - a panel of wealthy investors, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban - into investing.
Send your questions now and join Walton Friday at 4 p.m. ET!
Joe (New York)
I saw a photo of you in the Clean Bottle suit. That is crazy! Was it hot in there?
Bill Walton (4:02 PM)
It was better than perfect, as is everything Clean Bottle. To be the Clean Bottle Boy, that is my greatest accomplishment in life. My highest honor. It was extremely comfortable. I am so proud, privileged, honored, humbled to be on the Shark Tank tonight. I have come across so many interesting people in my brand new business life, none finer than David Mayer, the founder, CEO and president of Clean Bottle. It's a thrill to see everything I believe in. He quit his job to chase his dream and that dream is now coming true. Tonight, David's father, a retired corporate executive who's volunteering to help his son, is hosting a huge gathering near Palo Alto near where Dave lives. When the show comes on and the fantastic excitement comes with a unique program like this where the entreprenuerial spirit is put on display with some of the sharpest, keenest minds in the world.
Bill Walton (4:04 PM)
I learned so much from being on that show and the people on it, it's just been phenomenal ride for young David Mayer, who epitomizes what's right in the world and what he's been able to do with a brilliant, yet simple idea and turn it into a successful business under the scrutiny of these incredibly successful people and be able to stand tall in the face of that scrutiny and questioning and under the pressure of the lights and to witness one of the great performances that I have ever see. It was just fantastic.
Bill Walton (4:04 PM)
I am the Clean Bottle Boy! Champions ride clean, losers ride dirty.
Bill Walton (4:05 PM)
I use the product. I'm a firm believer in the product. Dave is my hero. I am Dave's friend and I'm a volunteer. I'm a member of the Clean Bottle Brigade.
As an NBA analyst, you're giving your thoughts on teams and owners like Mark Cuban....how strange of a situation was it for you to have Mark Cuban grilling you in this Shark Tank situation?
Bill Walton (4:10 PM)
I think Mark Cuban represents the best of the NBA. For them to win the championship last year against all odds, it's what they're all about. Building a true squad and riding the brilliance of Nowitzki. Marion, Chandler, Kidd, and all of those guys. But my favorite story of Mark and the Mavericks is the same story of Clean Bottle, that of JJ Barera. I love the little fast guys. That was Mark at the beginning of his career, a little fast guy. That's Dave Mayer today. Dallas will miss JJ, but there are business decisions. The NBA is great. Mark Cuban has changed the NBA and the entire world of sport in a short period of time. He stands tall, for his beliefs, his team, his businesses. He's a genius investor. He's a strategist. His mind is right there at the top of the list. You win in basketball, sport, business, life with your brain and your heart. Mark Cuban has an abundance of both. He represents the new breed of ownership in the NBA. Many of the old guard have moved on. Mark and the Maloofs were the first guys in the late 90s that changed everything. The profile, approach and brought a new level of intelligence of progressive acceptability, entertainment, creativity, imagination that the spirit is all about. Now he's the champion. He's carrying that banner proudly, waving it high and doing it well.
Bill Walton (4:11 PM)
I learned so much from these other judges. This is truly one of the special shows in TV. It captures all of the things. It captures the struggle to make it from the participants. Then there are the sharks themselves. They've already made it. The correlation to basketball is there, being able to think on your feet, make quick decisions and they have to be right. You don't have the luxury to be wrong. The teeth on the sharks are very sharp.
Frank (Santa Cruz)
Whats the most number of biking miles you've done in a week?
Bill Walton (4:14 PM)
In a week, I would say 1,000. I can not ride fast. I can not accelerate. I'm a terrible climber, though I love to climb. And I can't ride out of the saddle, because of my orthopedic issues. But I love to ride my bike. I've been very fortunate that I've been able to get better with my spine. Because of the brilliance of a doctor Dr. Garsin and the brilliance of entreprenuers in the medical, spine care here in San Diego, of a start up, NuVasive, I have my life back. Now, I'm all better. Granted, I've had 36 operations. I have fused ankles and now a fused spine, but other than that, I feel fine. I have no pain, no medications and I can ride my bike a lot. My bike is my gym, wheelchair and church all in one. I have a chance to play in the game of life one more time. I have a great family. I live in my hometown, the same years I've lived in for 32 years. My mom lives 10 minutes away. I have the hope and dream that tomorrow is going to be better. I can't wait to ride my bike again. But today I'm working. Tonight, we're swimming with the sharks.
Bill Walton (4:15 PM)
I just hope that you see how tasty the Clean Bottle is.
How long ago did they tape the episode? How much have you hated not being able to talk about it
Bill Walton (4:18 PM)
It wasn't too long ago, I can't remember exactly when. But that's the business of TV. It's a great industry. Content is king. That's what makes the NBA so special and that's what makes Shark Tank special. People want to see drama, personalities and people under pressure. That's what great champions are all about. To see LeBron and Miami last night. They played a great game. They delivered under pressure. That's what you'll see tonight with Dave Mayer. I've gotten to know him and it's tough to be that guy. He's married to an angel with two beautiful children. He had a great job at Goldman Sachs and he told his wife and parents, I'm quitting and chasing my dream. What a great story. The same kind of story of LeBron when he left Cleveland to chase his dream so he could go do what he's all about. In my new business career, I spend all of my time with fascinating, interesting, incredibly intelligent, dynamic forceful people who are doing everything they can to make it. Imagine you're a basketball player and you think you have it and then you're on the court with LeBron, Kobe, Pau and they're all out there and you're making it happen, that's what Dave Mayer is doing, he's on center court.
Bill Walton (4:19 PM)
All the kings of the jungle are there and he has to win. It's not nice to get eaten alive.
What made you excited about the Clean Bottle?
Bill Walton (4:22 PM)
I've been a fan for the last few years. This company is a few years old and its incredible what he's been able to do. In the last 18 months, they have over $1 million in sales. They're in 4,000 plus stores, including REI, Dick's, GNC, 24-hour Fitness. This is a company, they donate 10 percent of their profits to eco and recycling friendly charities around the world. Fans can go to CleanBottle.com to vote where they want the profits to go to. This product, which unscrews from both ends for easy cleaning, reasonably priced. Here I was as a cycler and one of the things I loved to do is watch bicycle racing on TV, particularly the Tour de France. I was watching as I do all day every day in July. And the announcer keeps talking about the Clean Bottle Boy running alongside the bikers. Then I'm calling a game in San Francisco and while I'm there and I'm talking to the players and coaches and this guy walks up to me, clean as can be, sharp looking, vibrant, and he says "I'm the Clean Bottle Boy." We got to talking and we became the best of friends.
Bill Walton (4:25 PM)
For me to use his product, which is fantastic and will revolutionize the industry and find out what a kind, passionate person he is, incredibly smart, Stanford graduate, he's a guy chasing his dream. He goes every year to the Tour de France, living out of his fan for all 3 weeks. He has built that all from nothing. He has taken an idea, taken a dream and built this fantastic company and he'll become a huge successful business and rich. At the end of the day, we're all entreprenuers. The basketball itself does nothing, it just sits there, but you can do something with it that creates value to other people. If you look at what the business of basketball has become, looking back at the 80s with David Stern, David Faulk, Phil Knight, ESPN and look at the world we have now.
Tommy (Madison, WI)
What's your take on NBA superstar requesting to go to other specific clubs?
Bill Walton (4:26 PM)
It's their lives. You have to be happy in your life. In love, your job, where you live. Basketball requires such a commitment to be great. I'm so lucky that I live in my home town. Sadly, my biggest failure in life was not helping keep the Clippers in my hometown. I'm very happy for what's happening to the Clipper. I'm extremely happy for the fans. I'm just sad and sorry it's 32 years late.
Bill Walton (4:29 PM)
The players, for them to play their best, they have to be happy. The challenge for these franchises is like any business. You have to create an environment where people want to be a part of it. If you don't do that, you won't be able to win. Every city, they have their own selling points. What Pat Riley is doing in Miami, with the Knicks coming back, with the legend of the Celtics, with Jordan was able to do for Chicago, what Steve Nash has done wherever he's been, that ability to create, generate and maintain loyalty. Loyalty is a two-way street, it has to come from the top. The players, they buy into it and they do things because they care. Think for a moment where John Wooden put loyalty on the pyramid of success. He put it right in the middle of the foundation. If you pull that block out, everything else crumbles. That's why I'm here today, on behalf of Dave Mayer, his dream. I care.
Bill Walton (4:30 PM)
Enjoy the show! Roll on forever. Enjoy the ride. Chase your dream. But remember, drink plenty of fluids. Always have an extra Clean Bottle at hand. I am the Clean Bottle Boy. I'm the luckiest guy in the world. This guy Dave Mayer is pure genius. He's made it to the promised land. Tonight he swims with the sharks. We hope he survives.