For Some Reason, the San Diego Airport Doesn’t Want This Incredible Statue of Bill Walton

Rob Slater on September 21, 2016

Jay Blakesberg 

Bill Walton’s love for San Diego is absurdly evident just about every time he speaks. He has called it, and rightfully so if you’ve ever visited, the greatest place on this great planet. It would make sense that the city’s airport would be more than into a huge bronze statue of Walton, larger than life, with his arms raised outside of their terminal?

That appears to not be the case, as the San Diego Union-Tribune reports, the airport in fact declined to immortalize Walton outside of the San Diego International Airport. Take a look at this beauty that currently lives outside of Petco Park in San Diego. 

A private group offered the 1,200-pound, $200,000 statue to the airport as a permanent gift, only to be turned down by the Airport Authority Art Advisory for reasons that make next to no sense. For starters, the letter declining the statue, which was slated to cost the airport nothing as organizers explicitly stated that the gift includes cost of delivery, preparation and installation, lacked “relevance to the Public Art Collection, which is focused on commissioning original artworks that are seamlessly integrated into the airport environment.” Sure.

The airport also declined because the statue showcased Walton in front of his bike, a symbol many San Diegans associate him with far more than a player for the Portland Trailblazers or Boston Celtics, or even as a Grateful Dead fan. The letter noted “the depiction of Mr. Walton (failing) to celebrate what is most emblematic of his past accomplishments.” 

At the unveiling ceremony of the statue back in May, which also included Mayor Kevin Faulconer calling Walton a “living legend here,” ended with Walton hopping on his bike and leading a memorial ride to honor military veterans. Time to do the right thing, Art Authority.