Where's Walton? ... Day 24: Wearing a Boa and Explaining How to Play the Post in Sacramento
MONDAY, MAY 13: SACRAMENTO, 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!
|By Bill Walton|
MOSES CAME RIDING UP ON A QUASAR to deliver THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD…
California --You forget how nice it is when you’re gone for awhile and every day -- once you’re back -- just seems to get better and better … KNOCK, KNOCKING ON THE GOLDEN DOOR… Shorts are on for the summer … I never understood why coaches and broadcasters have to wear TIES … I AIN’T GONNA WORK ON MAGGIE’S FARM NO MORE
Bill displays his incredible sense of style...and love for boas.
Here in Sacramento today, people are gathering from across the northern part of this GREAT STATE … From Grass Valley, Tahoe, the Wine Country, Yosemite, Berkeley, San Francisco, all of the cities of the Central Valley … Humboldt, Mendocino… A new batch of shirts has arrived and THIS IS THE FRESHEST, STRONGEST STATEMENT YET … WE’RE BUILDING MOMENTUM … The colors, the designs … SHE COMES IN COLORS EV’RYWHERE, SHE COMBS HER HAIR … SHE’S LIKE A RAINBOW … COMING, COLORS IN THE AIR … OH, EVERYWHERE … SHE COMES IN COLORS … SHE’S LIKE A RAINBOW...
The faithful are assembling for what promises to be a night to remember, the night that brought Old Dixie down, THE NIGHT THE SACRAMENTO KINGS MOVE ON TO THE WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS … The airport filling up with Lears, the Arco parking lot overflowing with brightly painted buses – THE TOUR HAS ARRIVED … MARDI GRAS at Arco IS IN FULL SWING …Waiting in the parking with a full tank of GAS was the "Love It Live!" Tour Bus and our trusty driver Jack, who had beaten us here from San Antonio … GENTLE JACK JONES WON’T YOU COME HOME TO ME …We took our newest best friend Steve’s charter and Jack drove the BUS, setting up camp hours before our arrival… HE’S BEEN PROMOTED, WE NOW CALL HIM CAPTAIN JACK . … ‘TWAS THEN HE FELT ALONE AND WISHED THAT HE’D GONE STRAIGHT AND WATCHED OUT FOR A SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE …
THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD is truly the ASCENSION of the Sacramento Kings. In the beginning, when they put the BARN out in the RICE FIELDS with people stopping strangers, asking ‘What the heck is going on around here?’ From the day Geoff Petrie arrived, to the days Joe and Gavin purchased the team, to the signing of Rick Adelman, to the golden parachute landing of Pete Carril, this has become THE NBA’S GREATEST SUCCESS STORY
Six months ago, the NBA released a coffee-tabled DOUBLE audio CD book, AT THE BUZZER! THE GREATEST MOMENTS IN NBA HISTORY. It reflects the HOPE, OPTIMISM, JOY and the ABILITY to create lives for themselves that makes the NBA what it is – THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH. That show PLAYS REGULARLY IN SACRAMENTO now… The loyalty of the fans, the sparkling ability of Petrie, the Maloofs, Adelman and Carril to BUILD A TEAM, to BUILD A FAMILY … The endless love that the fans have given this once sad group, has now evolved into the most delightful spring fling as you kiss your new girlfriend in the morning … YOU ANGEL YOU … YOU’RE AS FINE AS ANYTHING’S FINE …THE WAY YOU WALK AND THE WAY YOU TALK … IT SURE PLAYS ON MY MIND...
Bill displays the colors of the "Love It Live!" Tour outside the Sacramento Convention Center.
The fans here suffered through the worst … the BELITTLEMENT … the DEGREGATION … the constant complaints from Reggie Theus, Phil Jackson and even their own Chris Webber that YOU’RE NO GOOD. You don’t deserve us or anything … STANDING ON THE MOON, WHERE TALK IS CHEAP AND VISION TRUE … STANDING ON THE MOON, BUT I WOULD RATHER BE WITH YOU …SOMEWHERE IN SAN FRANCISCO ON A BACK PORCH IN JULY …JUST LOOKING UP TO HEAVEN AT THIS CRESCENT IN THE SKY … IN THE SKY… What can be more damaging to the hopes and dreams of the people who just wanted to climb on the Bus … BIG WHEELS ROLL THROUGH THE FIELDS … WHERE SUNLIGHT STREAMS …MEET ME IN A LAND OF HOPE AND DREAMS …
Rick Adelman, always the victim of MAGIC, ISIAH and JORDAN, is now poised to ASCEND to the THRONE … Getting on the Bus has become what life is all about. The assimilation of THE FANS to the TEAM. There is no better way to describe that sense of INCLUSION than the Celtics ’86 West Coast road trip. As the bus rolled into Sacramento back then, our rock, Kevin McHale, was hurt and couldn’t play. We needed an extra guy for practice. PETER VECSEY, who was traveling with us in those days, got the call from K.C. Jones, who looked at him and said, ‘PETER, GET IN THERE, LET’S SEE WHAT YOU GOT.’ My recollection is that he was a GUNNER who refused to get back on defense, much less guard anybody … K.C. always stopped the Bus to pick up the true believers … THIS TRAIN CARRIES SAINTS AND SINNERS … THIS TRAIN CARRIES LOSERS AND WINNERS...
No bus ride, though, was more memorable than the time when that Celtic team was traveling on another circus-like trip between Houston and San Antonio. Just as the bus reached the outskirts of the Bayou City, K.C. ordered the bus driver to pull over at the nearest store. He sent Wayne and Corky inside to BUY ALL OF THE COLD BEER THAT WAS IN STOCK …Coming in today, up the coast of California, I could hear Jerry crooning … STANDING ON THE MOON, I’M FEELING SO ALONE AND BLUE … I SEE THE GULF OF MEXICO AS TINY AS A TEAR … THE COAST OF CALIFORNIA MUST BE SOMEWHERE OVER HERE … OVER HERE…
The youth of America displays love for the "Love It Live!" Tour.
Reading the book, “Two Years Before the Mast,” by Richard Henry Dana, was a life-changing experience for me. It’s a story of a young Harvard student in the early 1800s, who went on a two-year voyage as a merchant marine sailor on a ship transporting goods from Boston to California. All along, he was struggling to recover from debilitating health problems. The history, the drama, the suspense, the danger, the journey of exploration, self-fulfillment and self-realization is exactly what the Love it Live Tour has become. As in At the Buzzer!, as with the Sacramento Kings, as with “Two Years Before the Mast,” as with the Love It Live Tour – people are celebrating the wonders of life and the happiness of being able to make something of themselves. It’s getting better all the time … GETTING SO MUCH BETTER ALL THE TIME … IT’S GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME …BETTER …BETTER …BETTER …IT’S GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME …BETTER …BETTER…BETTTER...
We’ve been running into folks around the country who are realizing that those of us on the Love It Live Tour Bus are moving faster than anybody on the planet right now. Everyone is coming to lend a helping hand … But it was sad this morning at one of the Bus stops. At the autograph circle, which gets bigger by the day, a young boy, maybe 10-12, sharp as can be, came up to me and asked, ‘Excuse me, sir. I just spent my last money on lunch. How much do the autographs cost?’ I felt so bad that that’s where we’ve come …How did we ever let it get to that point?
CLOSE-OUT GAMES: Championship experience teaches you how hard you have to work to get it done at the end …GIDEON COME IN WITH HIS EYES ON THE FLOOR …SAYS, “YOU AIN’T GOT A HINGE, YOU CAN’T CLOSE THE DOOR ..The role players are getting left behind here. … This is about THE STARS. As Jack Ramsay used to WRITE on the CHALK board before every game, the three most appropriate words of close-out games: RUN, RUN, RUN … We are running FOR OUR LIFE out here right now … Larry Bird said when he came into the last Celtic championship close-out game against Houston in ’86: ‘Guys, the fans are already in their seats and they smell blood. Right now, they smell the blood of the Houston Rockets. If we don’t deliver, they’re going to want OUR BLOOD.’… Larry went out and played the self-proclaimed greatest game of his life. That’s what it takes in these close-out situations … WE KNOW THE BUS HAS CROSSED THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE. PAUL PIERCE SAID TODAY, ‘THE WAY WE’RE PLAYING, WE CAN BEAT ANYBODY.’
Every where I go around the city of Sacramento, folks have already dismissed the Mavericks. The loyalists are all asking me, ‘CAN WE BEAT L.A.? ‘CAN WE BEAT L.A.?’ Why are they asking me? I’m only a fan and the broadcaster. That question has to be asked of Chris Webber and Vlade Divac … ABRAHAM AND ISAAC SITTING ON A FENCE … GET RIGHT TO WORK IF YOU HAVE ANY SENSE … YOU KNOW THE ONE THING WE NEED IS A LEFT-HAND MONKEY WRENCH…
And while we’re asking that question, ALL anybody who has any dreams of beating Shaquille O’Neal has to do, is to get the videos of Hakeem vs. David Robinson and Shaq in ’95 and McHale versus Abdul-Jabbar in the ’80s. Both Hakeem and Kevin gave up size and strength to their physically superior opponents, but still BUSTED THEM. You know you’ve become a real player when you can beat somebody who is bigger, stonger, faster, and jumps higher than you …Hakeem learned his moves from studying the guards on television…
What, they don’t have cable television here in Sacramento? … Chris Webber, the biggest key of all, has to learn that a post game is not about weakly flipping up shots, hoping you might get a lucky spin, pleading with the referees to put you at the foul line … I don’t think Chris Webber can jump in a crowd. I don’t think he can power up when somebody is right next to him …POST PLAY is EXPLOSIVENESS and DISCIPLINE, combined with the THEORY of faking one way, coming back the other and getting in the air. Something that Tim Duncan is still missing. WHY haven’t they learned from Hakeem? That’s part of the process in the evolution of the game. That’s the POWER OF TELEVISION!
QUOTE OF THE DAY
|“OK, Chris Webber. You’ve bad-mouthed our town, you blamed others for your problems and you’ve commanded the second-highest salary in the history of the NBA. Now what are you going to do for us? We’re now handing you the ball, presenting you with the perfect opportunity to erase all doubts and misgivings. What’s it going to be?”
The "Love It Live!" Tour has inspired the masses. I talked to the band today and the RUMORS ARE TRUE ... They have agreed to put their selfishness behind them, the REUNION is underway. The stories of a hot summer weekend in the Midwest with THE OTHER ONES are true. When Jerry died, THE OTHER ONES came smoking out of the gate, the mantra was ‘One year to the Lear.’ It only took the "Love It Live!" Tour 23 days to get ours … YOU GET WHAT YOU CAME FOR, YOU’RE READY TO GO …AND IT’S ONE IN TEN THOUSAND DONE COME FOR THE SHOW…
As I was walking the streets of Sacramento, joining in the pre-game celebration of the greatness of this city and its Kings … I ASKED HIM FOR WATER HE POURED ME SOME WINE … WE FINISHED THE BOTTLE THEN BROKE INTO MIME … I noticed off in a cornered table on a street side café, Don and Joy Nelson, sitting quietly and reflecting on a life sacrificed and dedicated to the NBA … THEY SAT TOGETHER IN THE PARK AS THE EVENING SKY GREW DARK … THAT SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE… A peaceful moment of serenity, love and hope before the cow bells ruin his hearing the same way mine was lost long, long ago …HIS BRAIN WAS BOILING, HIS REASON WAS SPENT
It got pretty WILD in there tonight. Early in the game, the Kings mascot doused Mark Cuban with silly string … People decked in costumes that would have made the Dead Tour proud … Beads, boas, hairpieces, little girls with block-out ear phones to save their future enjoyment of the music.
And then in the end, there were the tears of joy. People coming up to strangers, hugging, kissing, exchanging shirts and proclaiming, ‘I’ve never had SO MUCH FUN.’ As the celebration continued, an often asked question was, ‘What was that guy’s Jason’s last name again?’
The Kings ball movement was once again, spectacular and their thinking, creative and imaginative style, has captured the world’s FANCY…To see Joe and Gavin dancing with the delirious fans... A LOVELY VIEW OF HEAVEN BUT I’D RATHER BE WITH YOU … A LOVELY VIEW OF HEAVEN BUT I’D RATHER BE WITH YOU …BE WITH YOU … I’D RATHER BE WITH YOU… Can LIFE get any BETTER?! … Hedo showed why he’s every bit as good as Peja … Bobby Jackson: How can you keep this guy on the bench? In the end, though, it was Mike Bibby. He controlled the flow, did whatever was necessary.. Not a perfect game -- but one wasn’t needed. He did what he had to do against a Maverick team that in the end, disappointed most of us… Bibby was the Most Valuable Player in this series.
YOU KNOW I CAN’T SLEEP AT NIGHT FOR TRYING … NEVER DID FEEL THIS WAY BEFORE … I GET UP AT NIGHT AND WALK THE FLOOR … IF THIS IS LOVE, THEN GIMME MORE … AND MORE AND MORE AND MORE AND MORE… As this wonderful gathering has erupted in celebratory joy, the chants of ‘BEAT L.A.’ ‘BEAT L.A.’ ring through the night. They won’t have long to wait for their chance...