Where's Walton? ... Day 22: Hitting the Fourth Quarter in Big D
SATURDAY, MAY 11: DALLAS, TEXAS
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!
|By Bill Walton|
Overtime … Overdrive … THE WAY WE LIKE IT ON THE LOVE IT LIVE TOUR! I had no idea that LIFE could go SO FAST. I had no idea that LIFE could be SO GOOD. We’re into the fourth quarter now of the Love It Live Tour …We’re deep into the second set, the wheel is turning and I CAN’T HOLD ON … THE WHEEL IS TURNING AND YOU CAN’T SLOW DOWN … YOU CAN’T LET GO AND YOU CAN’T HOLD ON … YOU CAN’T GO BACK AND YOU CAN’T STAND STILL
…I can’t believe there are only eight days left??!! I’ve got a call into Einstein in a DESPERATE ATTEMPT to try and fix all of these problems – SPEED, SPACE, TIME, RELATIVITY AND ETERNITY ….
Bill with some enthusiastic young Maverick fans.
Gifts are pouring in from everywhere around the globe. People are caught in the magic of the Love It Live Tour
and WILL DO ANYTHING TO KEEP THIS TOUR running at full speed … FLOWERS …MUSIC … JERRY GARCIA DOLLS – What I want to know is … WHERE’S THE BOB DYLAN DOLL? … CHIMES OF FREEDOM FLASHING
…The present of the day, though, is from Tour rider Tom Stack. He sent a copy of the Dylan and Dead rehearsal tapes from the late ’80s… After Bob, Jerry and the guys rehearsed for weeks at the Front Street Studios in San Rafael, Calif., the excitement and anticipation of that tour was off the charts …We feel that same level of intensity and anticipation here on the Love It Live Tour. But unlike the Love It Live Tour, the Dylan and Dead Tour never really lived up to the hype and expectations for REASONS UNKNOWN and better left UNEXPLORED … CHIMES OF FREEDOM FLASHING
We fired up the bus this morning on an unbelievable summer-like day in Boston. Celtic fans were still racing through the streets, chanting, ‘GO CELTICS GO’ ‘GO CELTICS GO’. As the Bus …EVERY TIME THAT WHEEL TURN ’ROUND …BOUND TO COVER JUST A LITTLE MORE GROUND
…was ready to pull out of Boston, we were surprised to have A NEW DRIVER --- Jack, from last night. He was there wiping the bus clean from the morning dew. He had the radio blasting and it was Touch of Grey …I WILL GET BY … I WILL SURVIVE
…Jack was standing there at the steps of the bus, holding a cup of hot water and The New York Times. He wished me a glorious Celtic morning. Speaking of expectation, we all look forward to getting up early on Saturdays with the hopes, dreams, exhilaration and anticipation that Frank Rich has turned in another column for The Times… Oh, Jack, Thank you so much. Oh, to be a Celtic … CHIMES OF FREEDOM FLASHING
Playing on the road, THAT’S WHAT REAL PLAYERS LIVE FOR … It’s EASY to win at home, ANYBODY CAN DO THAT. Playing on the road, that’s where the real players are at their best. The mindset is, ‘Let’s see how far we can take this.’ We saw how far Shaq and Kobe can go in Game 3 on Friday night as they took things to the outer limits and the eighth dimension, essentially ELIMINATING THE SPURS from any real hopes of pulling off the monumental upset … CHIMES OF FREEDOM FLASHING
There is nothing like being in a road locker room, where the walls are breathing, CLOSING IN on you. So reminiscent of Maximus … FLASHING FOR THE WARRIORS WHOSE STRENGTH IS NOT TO FIGHT …in Gladiator when they were in the dungeon with the raw sewage, rats and snakes -- all of the elements of EVIL PROMINENTLY LURKING as the captives were about to be led out to certain slaughter … WITH THE FACES HIDDEN WHILE THE WALLS WERE TIGHTENING … When it appeared that gloom had finally overtaken the doomed, the pillar of strength and reason – Maximus-- in the middle of the sludge, quieted everybody down including their fears when he said: ‘Guys, if we fight with our HEARTS and our MINDS and we FIGHT as a team, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.’ …TOLLING FOR THE REBEL, TOLLING FOR THE RAKE …TOLLING FOR THE LUCKLESS, THE ABANDONED AN’ FORSAKED …
Bill hangs out outside the arena.
THAT WAS LARRY BIRD …
We reflected earlier in our gatherings about how Larry, Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia and Coach Wooden are all really the same person … STRIKING FOR THE GENTLE, STRIKING FOR THE KIND …STRIKING FOR THE GUARDIANS AND PROTECTORS OF THE MIND …We can add Maximus to that list as well. Larry Bird took road trips and road games as personal challenges. The challenge to play perfect basketball. There was a time when we were on a long West Coast road trip and Larry was averaging more than 40 points, over 20 rebounds and 12 assists – PER GAME -- NOT TOTALS for the entire road trip -- PER GAME. Larry started to get a little bored as the wins piled up for his Celtics. Larry made a pronouncement at the end of the yet another routine performance. He said, ‘Tomorrow night in Portland, I’M GOING TO PLAY LEFT-HANDED FOR THE FIRST THREE QUARTERS.’ And he did just that, torching the Blazers. At the end of three, Larry had well in excess of 25 points and HAD YET to take a right-handed shot. He played the fourth quarter AMBIDEXTROUSLY as the Celtics cruised to yet another easy victory … FLASHING FOR THE WARRIORS WHOSE STRENGTH IS NOT TO FIGHT …FLASHING FOR THE REFUGEES ON THE UNARMED ROAD OF FLIGHT …AN’ FOR EACH AN’ EV’RY UNDERDOG SOLDIER IN THE NIGHT …AN’ WE GAZED UPON THE CHIMES OF FREEDOM FLASHING
Then there was the time in Dallas. The Mavericks had never beaten Boston in their franchise history. The Celtics were cruising in this game – AS EXPECTED – up by more than 20 points after three. Larry already had 48. He knew he was hot and he went for it all in this blowout victory. All of a sudden, though, EVERYTHING WENT WRONG. The CURSE was still in place. All of the things that made us a great team suddenly eluded us. Much the way it did at UCLA back in 1974, our senior year, the year we lost. Larry only had two points the rest of the way. He must have taken a dozen, maybe even 15 shots. It was HORRENDOUS. A NIGHTMARE. The momentum switched early in the fourth quarter and there wasn’t anything any of us could do to get it back. Dallas won the game, remarkably. It was one of the biggest upsets in the history of Western Civilization. The victory so big, that the Mavericks made a video of the game and sold tens of thousands of copies … CHIMES OF FREEDOM FLASHING
Walton pumps a fist, loves it live.
In the locker room after the game, I went up to Larry, who was STUNNED, DAZED and CONFUSED. I said, ‘LARRY, you may have scored 50 points tonight, but YOU WERE THE WORST PLAYER ON THE COURT.’ With slumped shoulders and a downtrodden look, Larry’s only response was, ‘I KNOW.’ … FLASHING FOR THE REFUGEES ON THE UNARMED ROAD OF NIGHT …The next night in San Antonio, Larry had 39 at the half and the Celtics never looked back … CHIMES OF FREEDOM FLASHING
Not only am I in Dallas today but I’m on my way to San Antonio … The Love It Live Tour, NBA basketball, rock concerts, life, IT’S ALL THE SAME. Just as you’re nearing the end and you get song after song of powerful, rhythmic, driving music and you get play after play of brilliant basketball that brings the fans to their surging madness – READY TO STORM THE COURT. When everything is ready to EXPLODE – LOVE, HAPPINESS, PEACE, JOY – bursting out everywhere like spring flowers, there’s always that moment when a band throws a slow, sad song at you, just to BRING YOU BACK… THE REALITY CHECK. The same way Kenny Anderson’s near monumental gaffe at the end of the Celitc game on Friday night nearly cost the Celtics that hard-fought victory. But you have to be brought back. And I have been brought back once again. I received a call and an e-mail late last night, informing me that one of the greatest fans in Blazers history is in the closing stages of a long, losing battle to leukemia. WE ALL NEED TO SAY A PRAYER FOR OUR GOOD FRIEND, RICK BARNER ….YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE ME LONESOME WHEN YOU GO …
Everything is going a million miles an hour right now but I ask everyone on the Love It Live Bus, Tour and the loyal readers of this journal to please take a step back. RE-DIRECT YOUR EFFORTS because we have the chance to one day BE THE DIFFERENCE IN MAKING IT HAPPEN FOR OTHERS. We have a chance to help OTHER PEOPLE’S DREAMS COME TRUE. Next time you find yourself wasting things, like time, money or resources, just pause for a moment …Rick, 33 years old, so FULL OF LIFE, SO HAPPY, so into the Trail Blazers and the Love It Live Tour … They have a ‘Make A Wish’ foundation for kids, WHY CAN’T GROWNUPS GET WISHES, TOO? … TOLLING FOR THE ACHING ONES WHOSE WOUNDS CANNOT BE NURSED …
Where is Walton? Try to find Bill amongst the fans.
The Bus is making a detour, we’re headed to Portland, there’s somebody who needs our help …If only to say THANKS and GOODBYE … LIKE A STEAM LOCOMOTIVE, ROLLIN’ DOWN THE TRACK …
The Bus … EVERY TIME THAT WHEEL TURN ’ROUND …BOUND TO COVER JUST A LITTLE MORE GROUND … rolled into the American Airlines Center parking lot, eagerly anticipating Game 4. What an incredibly emotional and intense game it was ... Adelman was a master at surviving the decimation of his front court. Peja -- out for the foreseeable future; Webber and Vlade fouled out. With Finley forcing the pace and action, the Mavericks seem to be well on their way to tying the series, setting up an eventual seventh game … The crazy scene in Dallas is bumping up against the edges of what we’ve come to expect in Sacramento and Boston … COULDN’T YOU TRY JUST A LITTLE BIT HARDER … COULDN’T YOU TRY JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE? …A taunting, sarcastic crowd going after Webber, Vlade and Scot Pollard … TOLLING FOR THE OUTCAST, BURNIN’ CONSTANTLY AT STAKE …AN’ WE GAZED UPON THE CHIMES OF FREEDOM FLASHING …Video screens featuring pictures of babys lying on their backs, CRYING and SCREAMING with Kings jerseys superimposed over their tiny bodies …How enjoyable it was to watch Little Stevie draw upon his soccer background as he picked the ball up with his feet during deadball situations … A sea of little kids wearing Little Stevie and Dirk jerseys … CHIMES OF FREEDOM FLASHING … I sure don’t understand why I have to spend so much time here explaining why Shawn Bradley is a stiff – I thought I was giving him the benefit of the doubt …FOR THE COUNTLESS CONFUSED, ACCUSED, MISUSED, STRUNG-OUT ONE AN’ WORSE … AN’ FOR EVERY HUNG-UP PERSON IN THE WHOLE WIDE UNIVERSE …AN’ WE GAZED UPON THE CHIMES OF FREEDOM FLASHING …Perhaps maybe the most creative, enthusiastic and energetic in-arena voice for the entire NBA resides in Dallas…How sad for us that it might have been his last day of work for the season …TOLLING FOR THE SEARCHING ONES, ON THEIR SPEECHLESS, SEEKING TRAIL … FOR THE LONESOME-HEARTED LOVERS WITH TOO PERSONAL A TALE …
QUOTE OF THE DAY
|“When the Mike Bibby-Jason Williams trade was made, I thought it was addition by subtraction. How foolish I was to have no sense of the brilliance of Mike Bibby. This was purely multiplication.”
Two real differences in this series: The interior players for Sacramento are multi-dimensional guys who you can run an offense through …Dallas’ big guys are either scorers, specialists or GOONS (See: Shawn Bradley) …Down the stretch, Sacramento could not get any good looks because their whole frontcourt was gone, yet it was Mike Bibby and Bobby Jackson who continued to outplay Little Stevie throughout the game. It’s inspirational to see all of the youngsters in Dallas wearing the Little Stevie and Dirk jerseys. By this time next year, every kid in America is going to be wearing a Mike Bibby jersey … CHIMES OF FREEDOM FLASHING
Sacramento’s victory today is only going to inspire the Lakers. L.A. doesn’t want to go seven with the Spurs while the Kings are resting at home after closing it out in five … CHIMES OF FREEDOM FLASHING
Recently spray-painted on the side of the Love It Live Tour Bus --- ‘We’re selling sore throats.’ Thanks, Mark Cuban.