Bill Walton at E3 pic via Arash Markazi

ESPN has been starting to invest in the growing world of esports lately, and they may have found just the perfect personality to help bridge the gap between the worlds of sports and esports; Bill Walton.

Known for his laid back style and attitude along with his fun-loving spirit, Bill Walton is a gamer at heart it seems. The 63-year old checked out the Electronics and Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles this week as video game and software companies showed off teases and first looks of upcoming gaming titles and hardware options coming to the industry over the course of the next year. It is not necessarily uncommon to see sports stars make an appearance at the week-long event, but you did not have to look far to find Walton leave his mark at this year’s video game convention.

Walton wanted in on the action and took to challenging gamers to a few rounds of Street Fighter V. Arash Markazi of ESPN, who documented Walton’s tour of E3, admitted to being defeated by the basketball legend.

Having a figure like Walton walking around and playing some of the game son hand was an excellent way for ESPN to enhance its approach with the esports community. Walton is going to draw some eyes in ESPN’s direction anytime he makes an appearance, so it made sense ESPN would make sure he was walking around in the ESPN-branded esports tie-dye t-shirt. We may not get to see Walton join the broadcast crew for any future esports programming on ESPN, but it certainly would be fun to see if he were up to the work.

As ESPN continues to grow its esports coverage and as the genre continues to grow, the casual sports fan will eventually become slightly more familiar with some of the big names in the category. For now, Walton does the job to get people to recognize ESPN’s interest in esports from a more casual perspective. It will be fascinating to see how much growth there is with ESPN and the esports industry over the next year leading into the 2017 E3 event. Maybe Walton will make a return trip?

[Bleacher Report]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.