Padres’ Petco Park, Bill Walton hosting weeklong basketball festival

Bill Walton is a proud San Diegan and will help run a basketball festival at a baseball stadium. (USATSI)

Renowned Grateful Dead diehard — and basketball great — Bill Walton is getting a festival propped up in his name.

Here’s the deal. San Diego and San Diego State are playing a game in men’s basketball outdoors, at San Diego’s Petco Park, on Dec. 5. But from Nov. 30 through Dec. 5, the Bill Walton Basketball Festival will be held at Petco’s grounds as well.

“The festival will consist of youth clinics led by Walton, charity games, community league games and high school games, plus whatever else Walton might think up,” according to the AP.

Walton is possible of thinking up anything, so this actually sounds pretty interesting. The spirit behind it seems a perfect blend of community, basketball, free spirit and caravan-style gathering. Which is to say: That’s so Walton.

“I am proud, privileged, honored and humbled to be a volunteer for this incredible situation where people are going to come together in our city and play basketball in Petco Park,” Walton, a longtime resident of greater San Diego, said.

He also believes Petco should go bigger in basketball in the future. Bringing Arizona and Gonzaga games to the infield? It’s something he suggested for the 2016-17 season. In terms of the upcoming festival (and will there be a music component? You’d have to think so), more announcements will be made in October.

“This whole week-long festival of life is basically the second-biggest no-brainer in the history of the world,” Walton said, referencing the biggest no-brainer to him: solar energy.

“Our mission is to have the most fantastic week ever and have all these children be involved and say, ‘Yeah, I want to play sports, I want to be a better student, I want to be a better representative of our city,'” Walton said at his Tuesday press conference.

The SDSU-USD game’s seating capacity is expected to be about 18,000. This is how the field will be set up.


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