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!

MONDAY, APRIL 29: SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

By Bill Walton

MAY GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU ALWAYS AND MAY YOU STAY FOREVER YOUNG...

A beautiful sunrise in Oregon and the Blazermaniacs have already moved on as the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert rolled in to the Rose City tonight; the despair of the Lakers' loss has already been washed off...


Bill and his wife, Lori, enjoy City Creek Park, a great urban retreat only minutes away from the Delta Center.
Aaron Ryan/NBAE


Where's Walton? SLC photo gallery

The pace of the Love It Live! Tour is going so fast right now that I had to contact the folks at Stanford who run the linear accelerator there to find out how to slow things down...

The flight from Portland to Salt Lake City is one of the best flights in this entire country, rivaled only by the flight to Alaska. Normally, I have my head buried in my laptop focusing on research in preparation for the next stop. That’s impossible on this flight... This trip retraces the Lewis and Clarke trail and the initial views upon take-off of the Mount St. Helen’s Volcano that erupted years ago reminds me of the charter plane trip that I took three days after the initial explosion, right inside the crater. It also reminds me of the smoking crater that is my mind... As we cross the snow cap Cascades, I kissed Mount Hood goodbye and I anxiously awaited for us to pass the Wallowas, the home of Chief Joseph and the Wallowa band of Nez Perce Indians, a place I plan on revisiting this summer at the Blazers’ 25th anniversary championship reunion...

Utah is always one of my favorite stops. The books I’ve read about this magical place -- “Down the Great Unknown” by Edward Dolnick (the story of John Wesley Powell’s -- not to be confused with John Wesley Harding -- first trip down to the Grand Canyon), “Nothing Like It In the World” by Stephen Ambrose (the building of the transcontinental railroad) and Edward Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire” and “The Monkey Wrench Gang” (two of the earliest environmental manifestos). Only Edward Abbey would have had the foresight to have been buried in the desert with five cases of beer. I’ve got to change my will...

So many fond memories of Utah; Lake Powell, the entire Colorado River, Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, Monument Valley, Park City … Now that I have my health back and that my feet allow me to have a life, I hope to one day get back to camping again. It will be a tough sell with Lori, who believes that camping is when room service closes at midnight...


All of the Wasatch Valley is within Bill's reach.
Aaron Ryan/NBAE

The times we spent here during the ’97 and ’98 Finals gave us such a terrific appreciation of this magnificent city. Our favorite restaurant, La Caille, at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, only serves dinner --- darn it! – we had a game to attend... Our initial stop was the Mormon Temple to pay tribute to its incredible organ where the Tabernacle Choir performs regularly. We can only hope that one day they allow Neil Young to play “Hurricane” on those keys... HEY, DIG THAT TABERNACLE CHOIR, YEAH THEY BOUND TO TAKE YOU HIGHER...

Next was City Creek Park, one of the great urban retreats in our country. A brisk walk through the canyon along the creek was interrupted by the police who saw that we were just having too much fun and they realized they had to arrest us and put a stop to all of this great celebration. Do you think Coach Wooden would come back and bail me out a second time? Despite this delay, we managed to make a mandatory stop at Hansen Planetarium, which provided heavenly inspiration... MAY YOU BUILD A LADDER TO THE STARS... Then we trekked to our favorite look out, high above the Valley, with a spectacular panoramic view. We were reassured that Brigham Young got it right the first time when he said, ‘This is the place.’...

One time I came here with the Dead and Bob Weir broke out for the only time in Grateful Dead history, “Salt Lake City.” The lizards, rocks and Brigham Young getting it right and in the end, always finding the prettiest of maidens; We witnessed the gleaming stars that always illuminates the path for John Stockton...

Utah has inspired so much of our life today. Our home in San Diego has been renovated to reflect the beauty of this state. The rock work, the framed posters of all of the state's natural wonders... Salt Lake City is such a convenient place – the proximity to the airport, the broad streets, the friendliness of the people, everything is so very, very close together and it allowed us to get in many of our favorite activities before we arrived at the game...

NBA STORE

Join the fun with your own "Where's Walton?" Love It Live T-shirt

As is becoming routine, many old friends... the Delta Center atmosphere --- always spectacular... Hot Rod Hundley, the guy who used to broadcast the biggest of our UCLA games with Dick Enberg --- still a legend after all of these years... MAY YOU HAVE A STRONG FOUNDATION... The ultimate Jazz fan, Dr. Richard Anderson, a plastic surgeon by trade, a Jazz fanatic by conviction. A man who brings a myriad of props; from dead chickens, mega horns, umbrellas, fire extinguishers, signs, eclectic shirts – anything – to ensure that his Jazz will win each and every night... STAND UPRIGHT AND BE STRONG

The pregame pep rally was invigorating. The jugglers on stilts, leaving us dizzy with possibilities… Jim Goldstein, whose daily life is the model for the Love It Live! Tour. What I get to do for only 19 more days, Jim Goldstein lives for the rest of his life… MAY YOUR WISHES ALL COME TRUE...

It’s great to see Danny Ainge, a friend and teammate for 28 years now. Someone I’ve known since I first moved to Portland... MAY YOUR HEART ALWAYS BE JOYFUL... John Thompson was here to call the game with Danny. We can never thank John enough for his sacrifices, dedication, commitment and efforts to make the world a better place --- he has made a real difference... MAY YOU GROW UP TO BE RIGHTEOUS, MAY YOU GROW UP TO BE TRUE...

The Maloof brothers, Joe and Gavin, the owners of the Kings, are always there to lend their enthusiastic support and leadership to their beloved team... MAY YOU ALWAYS BE COURAGEOUS... The atmosphere in the Delta Center was tense, knowing the severity of the situation. Knowing that it all had to be perfect for the Jazz to live one more day...

BIG RED'S
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“While Bob Dylan likes to sing in Memphis Blues that people just get uglier and I have no sense of time, Lori just gets cuter and blooms like a flower all the time.”

The new talent that is dominating the NBA these days was on full display at the outset. To see Peja Stojakovic stroke jumper after jumper, to witness and experience the unlimited potential of Andrei Kirilenko and to hear the Jazz fans cheer for their Russian comrade while waving Russian flags was to experience the true globalization of the NBA...

The Kings demonstrated once again the importance of a good start. Shooting magnificently, flowing on offense, like a crystal clear creek cascading over the red sandstone of the Utah desert, they kept the crowd out of it early... Was that really Air Ostertag that I saw dominating so much of this game? But in the end, it was Vlade Divac’s three-point dagger that ultimately sent the Jazz fans limping home into the night...

What John Stockton has done for 18 years now is perfectly captured in Bob Dylan’s masterpiece, “Forever Young.” Never has a player sung such a fine tune... MAY YOUR HANDS ALWAYS BE BUSY, MAY YOUR FEET ALWAYS BE SWIFT... Watching John Stockton’s performance --- in sadness, in defeat -- reminded me of Bill Graham’s funeral, where 300,000 appreciative fans assembled in Golden Gate Park. Robin Williams gave the most upbeat eulogy for a man who was all about peace, love, joy and happiness. Then Neil Young, Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead came on stage, serenaded and sent us on to carry out Bill Graham’s dreams and visions with “Forever Young.”...

John, your entire career, you have given us everything you have. And no matter how much you give, we have always wanted more. As great as you are, John, one day even you will realize that even the greatest are like everybody else. One day, the mind will write a check that the body just can’t cash.