Luke vs. Bill Walton, in Open Letters

NBA.com had Luke and Bill Walton write open letters to each other, in honor of Luke's first title.

It's 99% pure father-son championship-inspired love-fest.

It's well worth the read, for various nuggets like this:

  • Bill used to write inspirational nuggets from John Wooden on young Luke's lunch bag. And I don't know if it was a phraseology thing or what, but he makes it sound like he might still occasionally provide Luke a sack lunch with messaging on it. Which is probably not true, but would be amazing.

  • The Lakers chartered a plane Sunday morning to bring all kinds of Laker friends and family to Orlando for Game 5. Bill, with back trouble, could not make it.

  • Bill apologizes to Luke for the number of voicemails he has left him.

Near the end of each of their letters, though, they get to what almost any two athletes will get to eventually: A little trash-talking.

Luke finishes his letter like this:

Winning an NBA title also prevents you from throwing any smack my way. I'm in the club now. And I don't want to hear anything about NCAA championships, let's keep the conversation on NBA titles.

When things calm down (and will they ever after you win a championship?), I'm coming to San Diego to visit you. I want to see how you're doing and just catch up. Plus, I want to see Grandma Glo.

I'm going to enjoy this championship but I also know that you'll be there to remind me that while I'm basking in the team's success this summer, guys around the league will be working on their game. I'm sure you'll also remind me that defending an NBA title is twice as hard.

Right now, though, I want to keep it light and fun. Although, I'm sure we'll jaw about whose team is better, this year's Lakers team or the '77 Blazers, your first NBA title team.

Lakers in six, Dad.

Who's stopping Kobe?

Bill Walton's reply (after all kinds of talk about love and pride):

When you get to be my age, trash talking is about all that's left. I fully admit, Luke, that your team is really, really good. Kobe is supreme. Pau, Lamar and Andrew are all top of the line. And Phil Jackson is brilliant.

Right next to your smile on my spirit and soul are the immortal words of Jack Ramsay, who recently said on the 30th anniversary of the 1977 World Champion Blazers in putting that team's abilities in historical context:

"I like our team. We'll take our chances. Anywhere. Anytime. Against anybody."

Blazers in four, Luke. Never forget why you are named after Maurice Lucas.