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Luke

How Bill Walton, Phil Jackson and Steve Kerr shaped Luke Walton by Ohm Youngmisuk.

There are times when Rob Pelinka will walk down the hallway from his office in the UCLA Health Training Center, past Magic Johnson’s office where a flat screen television is almost always on ESPN, and down to Luke Walton’s office.

Sometimes, the sounds of the Grateful Dead and other ’70s classic rock will be blaring out of the head coach’s office as Walton gets “in the zone.” Other times, Pelinka will find the room as quiet as a library with Walton deep in meditation.

“I usually keep going when I see that,” the Los Angeles Lakers’ general manager said, laughing. “Man, I keep it moving. I wait until he is back in the present.”

However, Luke Walton’s present is deeply connected to his past and to a collection of champions who had the most influence on his life: From his father, Hall of Famer Bill Walton, to his longtime coach and mentor, 11-time champion Phil Jackson, to his first professional sideline boss, Steve Kerr, who collected five rings as a player and already has two more with the Warriors.

It takes a certain type of unflappable personality to handle coaching in the entertainment capital of the world with a point guard who has Hollywood-sized hype and comes with the most opinionated father in all of sports. Perhaps the type of even-keeled personality that has been molded by Walton’s eclectic championship collection of mentors.

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