It turns out that NBA legend Bill Walton is one avid reader.
The Basketball Hall-of-Famer, known for his stints as center for the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Boston Celtics, sent the Oregonian a wide-ranging list of his 70 favorite books, which showcases his love of literary nonfiction.
“I’m a nonfiction and history reader,” Walton said. “I like to identify greatness, then study that greatness and learn from that greatness....What happens? What happens when you do the seemingly impossible is that you quickly realize, ‘I got it now.’”
Walton also has a weakness for literary fiction, shouting out books like Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, and Salman Rushdie’s The Golden House. (The list refers to Nguyen as “Viet Thanh Nguten,” Whitehead as “Coleman Whitehead,” and Rushdie as “Salmon Rushdie,” but whatever. He led the Blazers to the NBA championship in ’77. He can make all the spelling mistakes he wants.)
Because he’s Bill Walton, there are some basketball-related titles on the list, including Bill Russell’s Go Up for Glory, John Wooden’s My Personal Best, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Coach Wooden and Me.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.