Walton Amazes, Inspires Crowd at Jam Event

BAKERSFIELD, September 27, 2012 – Bill Walton was in Bakersfield Tuesday night as the special guest speaker to Kick-Off the Jam 2012-13 season at the Dignity Health Event Center. Walton emerged as an inspirational, influential, and motivational speaker, expressing his positive message about basketball and life to Jam season-ticket holders and partners in attendance. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member spoke about overcoming several obstacles throughout his career in basketball and life after basketball.

“What an honor to be here in Bakersfield,” Walton said. “My dad, he’s from Taft. And it’s just such a great harmonic convergence in my life to be here tonight to work with the Bakersfield Jam, the D-League representative that just makes everything come into focus in terms of the dream that tomorrow is going to be better. Because the message of the Bakersfield Jam is, is to build your life (and) chase your dream.”

The day began with Walton participating in a business roundtable discussion with local business leaders at Bakersfield Country Club hosted by Memorial Hospital President and CEO Jon Van Boening. Bill discussed his involvement in Connect.org and San Diego Sports Innovators and he shared his passion for helping young entrepreneurs find strong mentors and access to capital. He spent the afternoon as the guest of Dr. Kevin Silberberg at Standard Middle School addressing over 600 7th and 8th graders on how to succeed in life.

“Coach Wooden is the single most important, influential and inspirational person in my life outside my mom and dad,” stated Walton. “Coach Wooden gave us everything. He taught how to learn. How to think. How to dream. But he also taught us how to compete, not just at basketball.”

The highlight of the day was the Season Kick-off event at the newly named Dignity Health Event Center home to the Bakersfield Jam. Over 350 guests were on hand to hear Bill Walton share about his accomplishments in basketball and in life. How he overcame great challenges and was able to achieve goals that he had set for himself when others had told him he would fail. During the evening’s event a Live Auction raised $70,000 for the Bakersfield Jam Education Foundation; the proceeds will be utilized for programs in the Oildale community. The foundation’s vision is to work with churches, schools, and organizations to holistically engage every neighborhood so that schools are supported, students excel, families are healthy and whole and communities thrive. Last year in June, the Bakersfield Jam Education Foundation was awarded the Golden Apple Award presented by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) for their involvement with the Standard School District.

Walton’s plans for the upcoming basketball season include working as a broadcaster for the Sacramento Kings, ESPN, and the Pac-12 Network. “I’m excited as can be about the chance to be part of something special one more time,” said Walton.

“What a story of success that the Jam represents,” Walton said. “That ability to take control, to take responsibility, and to build. To use a vehicle, in this case a basketball, to create something. To come back here and see what (Jam) coach (Will) Voigt and (majority owner) Stan (Ellis) and (managing partner) David (Higdon) have been able to build with the Bakersfield Jam; there is really nothing like it in all of sport. They represent what the dream is about.” Bakersfield Californian September 26, 2012.