Where's Walton? ... Day 23: Mother's Day in the San Antonio Steam Bath
SUNDAY, MAY 12: SAN ANTONIO, 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|
I’ve been BEGGING all year for somebody to PLEASE GET A REBOUND … Well, somebody FINALLY got one -- SHADES OF BILL RUSSELL
-- KOBE -- and with the left hand to boot. REBOUNDING is playing CATCH with SOMEBODY ELSE’S BALL. It’s about ANTICIPATION and DECISION MAKING. Come to think of it, that pretty much SUMS up MOST OF LIFE ...
The Bus rolled into San Antonio this morning and our driver Jack, (we could not have made a greater addition to the tour) is ALWAYS able to find the perfect song on the radio. On the RARE occasion when there’s nothing on the radio but commercials (how selfish can they be?), Jack pops in the Dylan and Dead rehearsal tape and the unbelievable practice sessions come to life … I Want You … If Not For You …Walkin’ Down the Line … Maggie’s Farm … Chimes of Freedom … Heart of Mine … Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms … Tangled Up In Blue … Simple Twist of Fate … Speaking of practice, I used to think Larry Bird was a good player before I joined the Celtics. It wasn’t UNTIL I saw him practice that I realized how truly phenomenal he really is … Now, if Jack could just work on my hotel clock radio (WHY is it that only graduates of MIT’s COMPUTER SCIENCE SCHOOL are able to FIGURE OUT how to operate hotel clock radios?! (Oh, the vagaries of life?!) …
The STEAM BATH is on in San Antonio, just the way WE LIKE IT … HOT, MUGGY, able to work up a SWEAT JUST breathing … IF YOU EVER FEEL LONESOME WHEN YOU’RE DOWN IN SAN ANTONE … BEG, STEAL OR BORROW TWO NICKELS OR DIME TO CALL ME ON THE PHONE ……ENOUGH of the air conditioning, let’s GET REAL!… Is there anything WORSE for your body, for your health, for your life, going back and forth from the wonders of nature and the steam bath into the frigid air conditioning? WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE DOING? WHY DO THEY HAVE TO MAKE IT SO COLD? WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? WHY DO PEOPLE WANT TO BE SO SOFT? THEY NEED TO GO ON TOUR.
Bill celebrates Mother's Day with the San Antonio crowd.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to everyone. IT’S SAD that I don’t get to be home with MY MOM today. I talk to her EVERYDAY on the telephone, at least once. WHAT A PERFECT MOM. I always thank her for giving me the best life a son can ever have …The memories of her cooking all day – the NBA breakfast -- in anticipation of the game, she would slave over the stove for hours on Sunday mornings. This in an era
when the only day you could
watch NBA basketball was Sunday mornings … Then all afternoon, still in the kitchen, making the budget go as far as possible for four young kids. After working all day, how thankless it must have been to see it all DISAPPEAR, DEVOURED in an instant
… My mom, who used to go to as many games as she could as a supporting mother, would always knit during the games … Our home is FULL OF THE AFGHANS that I can talk her out of; the ones she didn’t donate to the church bazaar to help raise funds for the needy … My MOM -- the LIBRARIAN -- we used to love to go to the library
. We would dash over there after school because that’s when story time was; my MOM WAS SIMPLY THE BEST AT STORY TIME … She still takes care of my home library, although she gets frustrated with the amount of books, the CHAOS, the CONFUSION. Fortunately, Amazon.com is my library today …I just need more time for reading
… MY MOM IS COOL, even when she’s correcting my English and editing my journals …
It’s so special to be here in San Antonio and WHAT A PERFECT CITY, a WALKING CITY … AN’ I’M WALKIN’ DOWN THE LINE …WALKIN’ DOWN THE LINE …MY FEET’LL BE A FLYIN’ … TO TELL ABOUT MY TROUBLED MIND … Much like Indianapolis and Minneapolis, this is the perfect event city – Final Fours, NCAA Regional Finals, NBA Finals, NBA All-Star Games … The morning River walks, the plants, the trees, the magnolias (WE HOPE THEY’RE SUGAR), the cedars, the FLOWERS in full bloom, the whites, the purples, the reds, the CYCADS, the PHILODENDRONS, the multi-colored BOUGANVILLEA, the ARCHITECTURE with the BRICK and the ADOBES, the SPANISH tiles, the SPANISH COURTYARDS, fountains, ART WORK everywhere, the birds bathing themselves in the early morning water falls and the BEAUTIFUL SAN ANTONIO RIVER …
Bill hangs out with NBA MVP Tim Duncan.
San Antonio has always held a special place in my heart but I really didn’t understand the true significance of the city until I read a terrific book written by Stephen Harrigan, titled “The Gates of the Alamo,” which outlines the history of this city, the Battle at the Alamo and the siege mentality that existed … AND I’LL MEET YOU AT ALAMO MISSION, WHERE WE CAN SAY OUR PRAYERS … THE HOLY GHOST AND THE VIRGIN MOTHER WILL HEAL US AS WE KNEEL THERE …IN THE MOONLIGHT, IN THE MIDNIGHT
…the same mentality that the Lakers have put on the Spurs … Speaking of sieges, another excellent read is “Hell in a Very Small Place” by Bernard B. Fall. This riveting book chronicles the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, a brief, but intense military
conflict in which the Viet Minh defeated the best of the French Expeditionary forces during the Indo-China War, which took place between 1946-54 (I can’t believe WE DIDN’T LEARN from that ONE!)… IF YOU EVER FEEL SORROW FOR THE DEEDS YOU HAVE DONE … WITH NO HOPE FOR TOMORROW IN THE SETTING OF THE SUN …AND THE OCEAN IS HOWLING FOR THE THINGS THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN … AND THAT LAST GOOD MORNING SUNRISE WILL THE BRIGHTEST YOU’VE EVER SEEN …IN THE MOONLIGHT, IN THE MIDNIGHT
… We just witnessed the terrible siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and we can only wonder why people don’t give peace a chance … No trip to San Antonio is complete without my favorite Mexican Restaurant, Rosario’s, in the King Willliam area …The history here in San Antonio at the old HemisFair Arena…Ice Gervin, James Silas, Artis Gilmore, the old owner Red McCombs, who was at the game today, and who could forget the BASELINE BUMS, as WILD and CRAZY a group of fans that have EVER EXISTED in the NBA. So CRAZY, in fact, that the master of decorum, discipline and proper behavior, Dave Cowens, even went up into the stands one day -- years ago -- when he was with the Celtics, to punch out a few over exuberant fans during the game.
The Spurs are up against it right now but they’re still such great champions in my mind …. The run they had back in ’99, so FULFILLING, so SATISFYING. These guys ARE THE CLASS ACTS OF THE NBA …From the owner PETER HOLT to Gregg Popovich, Russ Bookbinder, David Robinson, Tim Duncan all the way down the line …WELL, I’M WALKIN’ DOWN THE LINE …I’M WALKIN DOWN THE LINE … AN’ I’M WALKIN DOWN THE LINE … MY FEET’LL BE A-FLYIN’ … TO TELL ABOUT MY TROUBLED MIND
…They never engaged in the verbal joust with Phil Jackson and Shaq when those guys bring up the nonsense that they like to do in taunting their overmatched opponents … Now that this franchise has two MVP’s –Robinson and Duncan – it’s interesting to note that after both pre-game presentation ceremonies, losses followed. Duncan was SINGED in Game 3 as David Robinson was TORCHED by Hakeem Olajuwon in ’95… We also saw Rick Carlisle and his team go down to the SURGING Celtics after the Coach of the Year ceremony in Detroit, the same way Fratello went down in ’86 …Never underestimate THE POWER OF EMOTION, the power of making a statement, TO PROVE YOUR OWN CONVICTIONS …
POISE AND CONFIDENCE --- THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS …Phil Jackson’s team embodies two critical aspects of Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success …POISE --- just being yourself; being at ease in any situation; never fighting yourself.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
|“How many times are we going to watch Laker opponents snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?”
CONFIDENCE --- Respect without fear
. It comes from being prepared and keeping all things in PROPER PERSPECTIVE. That is the final step, that is what we’ve seen from the Lakers, who have once again shown incredible mental toughness when it’s mattered most … If anyone ever doubted that basketball (or life for that matter) is about mental competition, please watch the replay of today’s game. Thank you
Phil Jackson for doing what you do and thank you
for teaching Kobe and the guys to live for the moment. I feel badly for the Spurs, they’re better than that. The Lakers – they’re feeling so good, they didn’t even need a plane to get home today … ALL THE PEOPLE WE USED TO KNOW …THEY’RE AN ILLUSION TO ME NOW … SOME ARE MATHEMATICIANS … SOME ARE CARPENTER’S WIVES … DON’T KNOW HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED …I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING WITH THEIR LIVES … BUT ME, I’M STILL ON THE ROAD … TANGLED UP IN BLUE
…San Antonio --- they need to go see Sigmund Freud.
Reflections on history are the signposts to the future. Today we are once again reminded how MUCH things have changed … THE ORDER IS RAPIDLY FADIN’ …AND THE FIRST ONE NOW … WILL LATER BE LAST … FOR THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ …At the hotel here in San Antonio this morning, the pervasive presence of bodyguards that surround the Laker players --- and we’re not just talking about Shaq and Kobe here. The sunglasses and the block-out headsets are EVERYWHERE. It’s never really clear to me why people would wear dark sunglasses in dimly-lit elevators and hallways? …I SEE THE MORNING LIGHT … WELL IT’S NOT BECAUSE I’M AN EARLY RISER … I DIDN’T GO TO SLEEP LAST NIGHT …Some of these guys might want to think about joining the OPENESS and HAPPINESS of the Love It Live Tour. We’re SMILING and LAUGHING so much on this trip that OUR CHEEKS ARE SORE. But I can certainly detect, appreciate and respect the determination on the Laker faces this morning. In the end, IT ALL PAID OFF.
As we were loading the Love It Live Tour Bus after the game for the long trip to Sacramento, a BIG, BLACK LIMOUSINE pulled up along side the curb. A CHERUBIC SAINT of a Lakers fan poked his head out of the window and informed us that he had a chartered jet with extra seats on its way to California …“The plane came by and I got on.” … With all due respect to Yao Ming and Master P, I HAVE A NEW BEST FRIEND. Thank you, STEVE JACKSON.
Today starts close-out week. Time for the home fans do their job. Never let your heroes tire, fill them with your love and spirit …long may they run. Conference Finals start Saturday. The BUS, excuse me, plane SOARS on …