bill walton stuttering

Former NBA great Bill Walton took his love of basketball to the broadcast booth after his playing days were over.

In his second career, he spent many years as a sportscaster with ESPN and other networks. 

What you might not know is that the Emmy Award–winning commentator once had a stutter.

Until the age of 28, Bill struggled to speak. His stutter left him shy, and he often avoided talking to others.

A simple thank-you was a challenge to get out. But on the court, the two-time NBA champion could speak clearly — and often.

He wasn’t shy about chirping when the refs made a call he didn’t like. 

Still, his stutter would present a big obstacle for someone who dreamed of becoming a broadcaster. That said, he was determined to overcome it. 

A Turning Point

Fortunately, he had an excellent mentor in famed broadcaster Marty Glickman, who was a radio announcer for New York’s Knicks, Giants, and Jets. 

By chance, Bill and Marty were introduced, an encounter that changed Bill’s life.

Marty understood Bill’s condition, and after discussing the gift of communication and the importance of hard work and perseverance, he offered Bill simple tips that gave him the confidence to start the path to recovery.

Marty Glickman’s Tips

While many speech therapists use these tips, they can help anyone:

  • Take your time and think through your thoughts.
  • Strengthen muscles in your jaw by chewing gum.
  • Practice reading out loud; teach others.
  • Work on your most challenging sounds.
  • Practice and never give up.
  • Be patient with yourself and find others you can help.

These techniques — which Bill still uses today — helped him find a way to manage his stuttering and embark on his second stellar career.

And he continues to inspire others through his hard work, speaking engagements, and foundations.

For more on Bill Walton’s story, click here:

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