Lakers head coach Luke Walton only retired in 2013, leaving him just a few years removed from his playing career even now that he’s two years into his time at the helm of his former team.
And while Walton was never the greatest athlete by NBA standards, literally everyone to play in the league (except Eddy Curry) is a far better athlete than 99 percent of the planet’s population, so it’s not exactly surprising that the 38-year-old is still pretty good at other sports outside of the one he specializes in.
Walton got a chance to show it while playing against Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) players in a recent game. Walton, who has the nickname “The Wall” for the way he racks up blocks on the sand, put up some impressive highlights while playing against real pros, which you can check out courtesy of the McKibbin Brothers’ YouTube channel:
On the court they should call him Luke Wallton for how many blocks he gets. I know, I’m sorry, I groaned writing that.
What this video shows, other than that there isn’t Lakers basketball on so we’re writing about (fun) stuff like this instead, is the value of Walton and the team’s commitment to keeping him healthy.
Walton has spoken before about how NBA coaching jobs are “not ideal for staying healthy,” and the Lakers have made it a priority keep him and the rest of their coaching staff in good condition so that they aren’t dealing with the health problems that job can create, even hiring a trainer just for Walton and his staff (via Bill Oram of the O.C. Register):
Supervising Walton’s pool workout that September morning was Josh Wright. Officially, his title is assistant to the head coach, a position created after Walton arrived. Wright’s duties are myriad, but first and foremost, he oversees a fitness regimen for Walton and the Lakers’ assistant coaches.
A former personal trainer with a kinesiology degree, Wright connected with Walton several years ago through Phil Jackson. Wright helped Jackson through the back and hip troubles that plagued the Hall of Fame coach throughout his tenure with the Lakers.
Walton’s volleyball exploits would seem to suggest he is on the right track to avoiding such a fate, as well as taking the important mental health step of disengaging a bit before fully diving into his offseason duties with the Lakers.