Cabot House may have an edge in intramural basketball this winter, as Bill Walton, the newly acquired and highly touted Boston Celtics backup center, has joined the Cabot Senior Common Room.
Dubbed "Cambridge Bill" by the Boston sports media because he is the first local pro athlete in many years to live in Cambridge, the former UCLA and Portland Trail Blazers star is considered by many hoop fans to have been at his peak the best center ever in basketball.
Daniel Rosenberg, the Cabot assistant senior tutor in charge of the senior common room, said that Walton--who is taking time off from pursuing a law degree at Stanford--may serve as a pre-law advisor to some Cabot students.
Rosenberg, who lured Walton to Cabot, said he had seen Walton riding his bike around the Quad neighborhood at the beginning of the school year. After he saw Walton speaking with a desk guard at the Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center (QRAC), Rosenberg explained to Walton that Senior Common Room membership allowed access to the QRAC, and he invited Walton to join.
"I was intrigued by the idea of a pro athlete settling in Cambridge," said Rosenberg. "I'm old enough to remember him at UCLA and with the Trail Blazers. I knew he was out-spoken about the Vietnam War. He's an untraditional athlete."
Cabot Master Myra A. Mayman was enthusiastic about Cambridge Bill's new Cabot affiliation. "Hot stuff!" she said. "I'm really excited."
And an equally psyched Master's Assistant Susan Livingston said, "Next we go for Larry Bird!" Walton could not be reached for comment yesterday.
In addition to his athletic ability, Walton is a die-hard Greatful Dead fan.
After a stellar career at UCLA, Walton went on to join the Portland Trailblazers, and led that team to its only World Championship on June 5, 1977. But injuries have since plagued Walton, and he has not played for a competitive team since his 1978 Trailblazer season.
Walton moved to the Celtics from the Los Angeles Clippers this summer, and has been enthusiastically welcomed by Celtic fans, whom he termed in August "the best fans in the world."
Celtic fans hope that a healthy Walton can give 15 to 20 minutes a game to relieve starting center Robert Parish, and help the Green recapture the World Championship title from the L.A. Lakers.
Walton, however, is not the only basketball great to grace a Harvard Senior Common Room. Celtic head coach, K.C. Jones, is a member of the Mather Senior Common Room.
Mather House Master David Herlihy admits to a little jealousy: "I'm sure Walton will be an asset, but we're happy to have K.C.