Where's Walton? ... Day 16: Lovin' L.A.
SUNDAY, MAY 5: LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA
Hall of Famer and NBA on NBC analyst Bill Walton, who led his Portland Trail Blazers to an NBA championship 25 years ago, is making history once again as he "Loves it Live" by traveling to 30 NBA games in 30 days during NBA Playoffs 2002. Join Walton as he experiences the thrilling playoff excitement first hand, which is passionately documented in his daily reports on NBA.com along with an exclusive “Where’s Walton?” map
spotlighting his cross-country travels. Get on the Bus!
WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE …OH, THE STREETS OF ROME ARE FULL OF RUBBLE AND ANCIENT FOOTPRINTS ARE EVERYWHERE
|By Bill Walton|
… The fog is in along the Southern California Coast, so typical this time of year. The same weather pattern that as UCLA students, Greg Lee and I used to rise at 5 a.m. every morning once the Final Four
was behind us.… THEY SAY THE DARKEST HOUR IS RIGHT BEFORE THE DAWN BUT YOU WOULDN’T KNOW IT BY ME … EVERY DAY’S BEEN DARKNESS SINCE YOU BEEN GONE
We realized that there would be no sun on those days, so we hopped in the old Toyota and sped to Palm Springs, where the weather suits my clothes … Hiking in the desert Indian Canyons, Tahquitz and Palm, Greg and I discovered new vistas, horizons and adventures amidst the sycamores, washingtonian palms, steep rock canyon walls, magnificent water falls and swimming holes as the oven heat just kept baking … AN I’M WALKIN’ DOWN THE LINE. MY FEET’LL BE A-FLYIN’ TO TELL MY TROUBLED MIND ….
Bill and Loma got in a morning walk along Santa Monica Bay.
Greg and I often solved the nonsensible arguments that have always been thrown our way … DODGING LIONS AND WASTIN’ TIME .… OH, THOSE MIGHTY KINGS OF THE JUNGLE, I COULD HARDLY STAND TO SEE ’EM …YES, IT SURE HAS BEEN A LONG, HARD CLIMB
…The one we’re battling today is; ‘Why don’t people recognize Phil Jackson as a true basketball genius and master teacher? … When you get confused, listen to the music play …How many championships did Michael Jordan win, before or after Phil? How many did Shaq and Kobe win before Phil showed up? …
I first remember Phil as a member of those great Knick championship teams, that inspired so much of the way we think about basketball today and hope to one day play again … Phil Jackson, Bill Bradley and I used to spend summers in the mid-’70s on the huge Indian Reservations of South Dakota. The basketball clinics, the Pow Wows, the circles of life, the horse back riding through the Badlands …. TALK ABOUT A DREAM, TRY TO MAKE IT REAL, YOU WAKE UP IN THE NIGHT WITH A FEAR SO REAL …It seems as if it’s taken so long to get things right … It was great talking to Phil before the game today about how he spent Saturday in Dennis Rodman’s restaurant --- Josh Slocum’s in Newport Beach -- with the Painted One. Both were Loving It Live as they were watching the Mavs-Kings game and listening to reports of threatening cowbell ringers.
WELL, I JUST GOT INTO TOWN ABOUT AN HOUR AGO …TOOK A LOOK AROUND, SEE WHICH WAY THE WIND BLOW …The morning walk along Santa Monica Bay was different this morning. I had Loma with me and she kept looking at me with the sad eyes, the long face and the bellowing voice of Dylan’s “If Dog’s Run Free” … WHY NOT ME? …
I was also with Elliott Kalb, our courtside statistician. Elliott is such a good friend, such a basketball historian and junkie, that my true lament is that I only get to see Elliott on weekends … We were all treated to a school of a dozen dolphins frolicking just 30 feet off shore in the surf. I immediately thought: ‘Oh, how I wish I could still ride the waves’ …
The boats of Marina Del Rey, reminding me of the trips to Baja; Bahia de Los Angeles, Mulege, Loreto, Magdelana Bay and the Boston Whaler that I got while with the Celtics. The perfect boat for the Sea of Cortez … The giant luxury yachts, triggering memories of the trip to the Galapagos more than 20 years ago … TRAIN WHEELS RUNNIN’ THROUGH THE BACK OF MY MEMORY … Our first day there, so full of anticipation of the perfect trip. Up before the dawn on the cool, Equitorial Pacific, burnished by the Humboldt Current. We were once again caught in the fog. They call it garua there. While we sat on the foredeck that first morning, sipping our hot water, pondering where our sunshine was, someone had the foresight, ‘Hey, you know it’s sometimes foggy on the coast of California in the mornings, too.’ It wasn’t long before things in the Galapagos became better than perfect ….
David Robinson's injury kept him out of Game 1 against the Lakers.
It doesn’t seem like L.A. and the Lakers any more. Wilt’s gone, Jerry lives in Memphis and Kareem is in Oklahoma City. Where have all the flowers gone? … EVERY DAY’S BEEN DARKNESS SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE
… My early years in L.A., starting in 1970, the regular breakfasts with Jerry West at Hollis Johnson’s Westwood Drug Store … Becoming good friends with Wilt Chamberlain and all of the years spent on the beaches of Santa Monica Bay with the volleyball games that Greg Lee used to dominate (at least in his mind) and the card games that Wilt used to cheat at …
Bicycling has always been such a big part of my life. The countless times that I have traversed the bike path along the beach from the Pacific Palisades down to Palos Verdes and back. Santa Monica, Venice, the airport, Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo and finally, Torrance. A place to meet new friends, a place to rival Grateful Dead concerts and the boxing matches in Las Vegas for people watching. … A lifetime spent listening, watching the Lakers – Jerry, Elgin, Wilt, Gail, Kareem, Norm, Magic, Jamaal, Worthy, Byron, Shaq, Kobe and the common thread always, Chick. He has done what? Thirty-seven hundred games? I must have listened to – at least – 2,200 of them. When, of course, I wasn’t in church or the library where I spend the majority of my life.
On the way to the game, I needed a quick botanic fix, the Huntington Gardens is not far off the path to Staples. The Huntington Gardens is one of the great Botanical spots in the world. This is always the place that will give me the strength, power and conviction that things are going to be all right … So many important books in my life about Los Angeles – David Halberstam’s “The Powers That Be ” and “Privileged Son: Otis Chandler and the Rise and Fall of the L.A. Times Dynasty by Dennis McDougal.”
How can you be in L.A. without experiencing the music scene. My first day in the dorms at UCLA as Greg Lee and I sat on opposite beds, figuring out, ‘What do we do now?’ Scanning The Daily Bruin, we saw that Neil Young was playing at Royce Hall … opening night. We walked over, convinced that it was going to be a sold-out event. We were the first ones there! We sat in the second row in a near empty temple. Neil Young played all night, by himself, literally every instrument known to man. Was there a more perfect start to the tour of life that has now come full circle with the Love It Live Tour? …
The Grateful Dead at Pauley Pavillion, just after returning from Egypt in the late ’70s. The slideshow, illuminating on the big screen above the stage. Melting images of that incredible odyssey. Hamza El Din and his African drummers, parading through the entire arena, periodically showing up on stage, as the endless songs just kept coming and coming and coming … Shows at the Forum … OH, THE HOURS I’VE SPENT INSIDE THE COLISEUM …The Stones, The Dead, Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Traffic, Spencer Davis, all of the clubs on Sunset Boulevard. The years of shows at the Sports Arena, Bruce Springsteen, night after night after night … And then the stretch when Dylan played nine straight shows at the Wiltern. Lori thought about a different path after that run … ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS … SO GLAD YOU CAME AROUND …HOLD ON TO ME SO TIGHT … The Doors, one of the most influential rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time, the brilliance of UCLA grad Jim Morrison and his poetic lyrics … Over the years I became good friends with Ray Manzarek, the band’s classically trained keyboardist. When I did an audio CD – “Men Are Made in the Paint” -- Ray did the musical interludes … CAN YOU PICTURE WHAT WILL BE? SO LIMITLESS AND FREE ...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
|“Dennis told Phil through the haze that he was ready. I think Phil is a little skeptical. He may like what he already has.”|
Some of the old timers love to complain that the newness of today cannot capture the specialness of what we once had … Getting up from my hospital bed this past fall, the Bob Dylan World Tour rolled into Southern California … THAT IT AIN’T NO SIN TO BE GLAD YOU’RE ALIVE
… One of the shows was at Staples. I crutched in, danced and sang the night away and did not need my sticks on the way out … That place rocks or is it Bob? …. NEWSPAPERMEN EATING CANDY … HAD TO BE HELD DOWN BY BIG POLICE
Got to spend some time with David Robinson before the game and was reminded of my own sad memories and the debilitating physical problems that plagued my career. I remember the numbing injections of 1978 as a bone in my foot split in half, to the time at the end of the run in Boston, with a sold-out playoff crowd chanting my name, urging me on one last time (if it were only about effort). Fortunately, Dennis Johnson came to me at the Garden that night with the consoling words: ‘Bill, I was there that night in Portland. Don’t do it again.’ … LET THE BROKEN HEARTS STAND AS THE PRICE YOU’VE GOTTA PAY … David Robinson is not ready. You can see it in his eyes, you can hear it in his voice. ‘David, you have already given us everything that you can. Don’t do anything stupid. You have a long and bountiful life ahead.’ …
The Spurs actually made it a game or was it that the Lakers were just awful? Tons of injured stars on the court today -- David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Marv Albert – everybody doing what they could, this is the playoffs. In the end, there was too much Shaq and not enough offense for San Antonio. But rays of hope glisten through the afternoon fog as questions about Kobe’s knee burn through people’s minds -- always the reality check in sports. Who captured it better than David Halberstam when he wrote: ‘How deep do the breaks of the game go?’
The only place for us to go right now is Sacramento to see if Dallas has learned any lessons … SOMEDAY, EVERYTHING IS GONNA BE DIFF’RENT … WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE ...