Being the son of a Hall of Famer is not easy especially for a rookie in the NBA. Not only does one feels the pressure of living up to expectations, comparisons between generations is also unavoidable.
That was certainly the case for Luke Walton, when he entered the league back in the 2003-2004 season. It did not help that his father, Bill, is known to be very opinionated and is not shy to speak his mind. That led to his All-Star teammates that year with the Los Angeles Lakers (Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, and Gary Payton) making it clear as early as training camp that it will be a long year for Walton. The current team’s coach shared, via Mark Medina of the Orange County Register, what their warning to him was back then, but also said things became better once they got to know him more.
“They let me know life was going to be hell for me that year because of stuff my dad had said. It worked out.”
“They were easy on me after we got to know each other. We were good to go. The first couple of weeks was a little tough. I found out as long as I did what they asked me to do, we got along just great.”
The younger Walton also admitted he tried to talk to his dad before to lessen his insights about controversial topics especially when on-air and covering games.
“He doesn’t really listen. Normally, I say it while he’s talking. I don’t know if he even knows that I’m talking to him. He does things his own way.”
After playing 11 seasons in the league, Luke Walton slowly made a name for himself as a consummate professional and also showed signs of having the potential to be a good coach in the future.
He will continue to remember clearly how it was with his veterans during his first year and will be thankful for going through that experience as it helped him become the head coach that he is now. It also taught him to have good relationships with all of the members of the team, which he is known to have with the Golden State Warriors and now with the Lakers.