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!

SUNDAY, MAY 19: EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY

By Bill Walton
DON’T EASE ME IN … DON’T EASE ME IN …I’VE BEEN ALL NIGHT LONG COMING HOME … DON’T EASE ME IN

CAPTAIN JACK, once again, a marvelous job collecting all of the nuts. Rounding them up and dropping us in Central Park today. Please go to the "Love It Live!" Tour home page and check out THE FRONTAL PICTURE OF THE BUS … The hood ornament is THE JOKER MAN with a butterfly net. If you look closely in the net, there are nuts indeed, symbolic of the "Love It Live!" Tour journey…


Like a rock star, Bill signs body parts including young children's heads on the "Love It Live!" Tour.
Aaron Ryan/NBAE

THE GATHERING OF NUTS and ultimately the dispersal --- now, just hours away … NEW YORK CITY has never looked finer. It’s different here than Sacramento… A PEACEFUL PLACE, OR SO IT LOOKS FROM SPACE … A CLOSER LOOK REVEALS THE HUMAN RACE … FULL OF HOPE… FULL OF GRACE … IS THE HUMAN FACE …BUT AFRAID WE MAY LAY OUR HOME TO WASTE…Generally, in a city THIS size, like Paris, like Toyko, like Singapore, like Sydney, like London, nobody is really connected because of the ENORMITY of life. Things are different now. The "LOVE IT LIVE!" TOUR HAS ENGULFED THE WORLD …

And as the Band rolled its way through the streets of New York City today en route to East Rutherford, everywhere – SIGNS, BANNERS, POM POMS -- cheering on their beloved Nets … the long and storied tradition of the New Jersey Nets … "Love It Live!" Tour t-shirts are everywhere … The Veterans Day parade down Fifth Avenue... COMMISSARS AND PINSTRIPE BOSSES ROLL THE DICE … ANYWAY THEY FALL, GUESS WHO GETS TO PAY THE PRICE? … MONEY GREEN, OR PROLETARIAN GRAY … SELLING GUNS INSTEAD OF FOOD TODAY ...inspiring all, but still posing the ugly questions …WHY? WHY? WHY? … Why can’t we take care of THOSE who DEFEND OUR HONOR, OUR FREEDOM … OUR INTEGRITY … OUR INDIVIDUALITY …I WAKE UP IN THE MORNING … FOLD MY HANDS AND PRAY FOR RAIN … I GOT A HEAD FULL OF IDEAS THAT ARE DRIVIN’ ME INSANE …IT’S A SHAME THE WAY SHE MAKES ME WASH THE FLOOR…

People walking in the streets … an AIDS walk, reminding me of a terrific book of the mid-’80s, “And the Band Played On” by Randy Shilts … MUSIC, Rock ’N’ Roll, reggae, folk, rap bands set up in different places throughout Central Park.

DON'T EASE... DON'T EASE...

As I stumbled along the way to pay homage at Strawberry Field’s one more time, I WILL GET BY ... I WILL SURVIVE ... I came across a wonderful celebration of life --- people dancing, singing, painted faces, tambourines, balloons, streamers, rollerbladers -- everyone getting ready for the big game this afternoon. I was dancing to the beautiful music… SOME PEOPLE CALL ME THE SPACE COWBOY … YEAH … SOME PEOPLE CALL ME THE GANGSTER OF LOVE … SOME PEOPLE CALL ME MAURICE … CAUSE I SPEAK OF THE POMPITOUS OF LOVE… I was desperately scrambling back to the Bus to get to the game on time. There in the crowd, laughing, dancing, joking WERE MY TWO SONS, NATHAN and CHRIS, ... and with them my next door neighbors from San Diego BOB and Marty Metcalf … IMAGINE THAT! They were wearing Love It Live Tour shirts and were on their way to the game themselves …This indeed has become the LONGEST, STRANGEST TRIP OF ALL … SOMETIMES THE LIGHTS ALL SHINING ON ME …

THE GUILTY UNDERTAKER SIGHS … THE LONESOME ORGAN GRINDER CRIES …THE SILVER SAXOPHONES SAY I SHOULD REFUSE YOU …THE CRACKED BELLS AND WASHED-OUT HORNS … BLOW INTO MY FACE WITH SCORN … BUT IT’S NOT THAT WAY … I WASN’T BORN TO LOSE YOU

We never would have gotten here if we hadn’t followed Coach Wooden’s final tool for overcoming the adversity that’s always going to keep us from our dreams, from our goals.

AND THE RICH MAN IN HIS SUMMER HOME … SINGING JUST LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE … BUT HIS PANTS ARE DOWN, HIS COVER BLOWN .. AND THE POLITICIANS THROWING STONES …’CAUSE IT’S ALL TOO CLEAR WE’RE ON OUR OWN

And that’s the sense of PERSERVERANCE -- necessary to withstand the negativity, the jealousy, the envy, the greed, the selfishness that permeates so much of the world. WHEN YOU’RE LOST IN THE RAIN IN JUAREZ AND IT’S EASTER TIME TOO …WHEN YOUR GRAVITY FAILS YOU AND NEGATIVITY DON’T PULL YOU THROUGH ... DON’T YOU PUT ON ANY AIRS WHEN YOU’RE LOST ON RUE MORGUE AVENUE …THEY GOT SOME HUNGRY CREATURES THERE …THEY’LL SURELY MAKE A MESS OUT OF YOU… If you don’t have the ability to turn rejection and negativity into a positive source of motivation, YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO GET ANY WHERE …

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Where would the Nets and Celtics be, if all they did was quit at the first sign of defeat? At the first sign of failure? At the first sign of difficulty?… BLOW INTO MY FACE WITH SCORN … BUT IT’S NOT THAT WAY … I WASN’T BORN TO LOSE YOU … I WANT YOU … I WANT YOU … I WANT YOU SO BAD…These two franchises, who have seen the worst, are now battling for the ultimate prize of BEING DESSERT for the LAKERS… I CAN TELL YOU FANCY … I CAN TELL YOU PAIN … YOU GIVE SOMETHING UP FOR EVERYTHING YOU GAIN …SINCE EVERY PLEASURE’S GOT AN EDGE OF PAIN …PAY FOR YOUR TICKET AND DON’T COMPLAIN

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Bill and longtime Nets ticket-holders, Mary and Shirley, celebrate as New Jersey's Richard Jefferson dunks an alley-oop pass from Jason Kidd.
Aaron Ryan/NBAE

I’m the most injured athlete in history. The endless string of stress fractures in my feet caused me to miss more than 9 ½ FULL SEASONS of MY NBA CAREER … The countless times the doctors said, ‘Hey, look, we’re not fixing you to go out there and play basketball. We’re trying to get you through life on legs that won’t hold up.’ … MY STALKS THEY ARE TWISTED AND MY TENTACLES ARE ALL IN A KNOT … I CAN’T EVEN ROLL OUT OF BED AND CRAWL ACROSS THE FLOOR TO TAKE ANOTHER SHOT… I could certainly empathize with the Nets and the recent Celtics, who over the years have played to so many empty houses … SHE IS GOOD TO ME …AND THERE’S NOTHING SHE DOESN’T SEE … SHE KNOWS WHERE I’D LIKE TO BE … BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER

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The LONG, LOST years on the CLIPPERS where it seemed as if it was never going to work … The countless operations … the endless frustrations … the time I wanted to go to STANFORD LAW SCHOOL at the recommendation of David Halberstam. They said, ‘ARE YOU KIDDING ME? We’re not letting YOU in here. We’re not letting a UCLA Bruin who is undefeated lifetime against our Cardinal into our law school. After BEGGING, PLEADING, BANGING on the doors and ultimately wearing them down, STANFORD RELENTED …UP ON HOUSING PROJECT HILL, IT’S EITHER FORTUNE OR FAME …YOU MUST CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER THOUGH NEITHER ARE TO BE WHAT THEY CLAIM ..IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO GET SILLY, YOU BETTER GO BACK TO FROM WHERE YOU CAME …BECAUSE THE COPS DON’T NEED YOU AND MAN, THEY EXPECT THE SAME

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Then as a broadcaster, the COUNTLESS REJECTIONS, I couldn’t get a job ….NOW I’M GONNA MAKE IT SOMEHOW … AND That fateful day, March 15, 1990, my first ankle fusion, Whittier California, Dr. Wagner, the deliverer of new lives …NEED THAT CASH TO FEED THAT JONES … AND THE POLITICIANS THROWING STONES … ASHES, ASHES ALL FALL DOWN…How ironic -- Dr. Wagner, from the same place as Nixon, the Prince of Darkness …

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HE HANDS YOU A NICKEL … HE HANDS YOU A DIME …HE ASKS YOU WITH A GRIN IF YOU’RE HAVIN’ A GOOD TIME … THEN HE FINES YOU EVERY TIME YOU SLAM THE DOOR… Lying there on the hospital bed 12 years ago, through the tears, knowing that I would never run again, knowing that I would never be part of the team … knowing that IT WAS ALL COMING TO A CRASHING END … I would NEVER feel the wind blowing through my hair … I would NEVER feel the sweat pour off my body, I would NEVER be in the huddle, on the Bus, in the locker room, on the court again… NEVER be able to ELBOW anyone to get right back into the game … It dawned on me that day that as a 6-11 red head, a stutterer with a big nose and freckles, a goofy, nerdy looking guy and a Dead Head – having been to over 600 SHOWS -- that TELEVISION was THE ONLY Career possibility for me to pursue. You talk about rejection, you talk about negativity …

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They looked at me and said, ‘NO, WAY, WALTON. We’re not putting you on the air! DON’T CALL US BACK. ‘Don’t come around here any more.’ … BERTHA DON’T YOU COME AROUND HERE ANY MORE….I finally got my first chance. I finally got to do a game as a broadcaster. WHO CARES that it was a CBA game on the radio from Bakersfield, Calif. --- on Christmas Day -- for no pay -- and the team folded the next day. I was on my way … I WILL GET BY ... I WILL SURVIVE ...

EVERYBODY SWORE THAT THEY WOULD STAND BESIDE ME WHEN THE GAME GOT ROUGH … BUT THE JOKE WAS ON EVERYBODY, THERE WASN’T ANY TIME TO BLUFF

The same way today’s draft lottery is a springboard for new careers into the greatest of professions --- the chance to join the NBA. Things are SO MUCH DIFFERENT NOW …When I was in college, the draft, was a very small part of our lives. Coming out of UCLA, the bidding war between the ABA and NBA was even fiercer than the offers coming out of high school... IMAGINE THAT ... The ABA was going to give me ownership of my own team in Los Angeles and provide me with my choice of players to be drawn from the entire league, other than Dr. J. They wanted to maintain competitive balance, EAST and WEST. But I WAS an NBA GUY. That was MY DREAM. I wanted to be part OF THE BEST. The CIRCUS was not what my life was about.


Bill catches up with old friend and Celtics great Nate "Tiny" Archibald at Continental Airlines Arena.
Aaron Ryan/NBAE

There were no draft day ceremonies 28 years ago with Commissioners handing out caps to players -- with no money -- wearing $5,000 suits. I found out that I’d been drafted when I came trekking out of Tahquitz Canyon after a week’s backpacking trip in the San Jacinto Mountains above Palm Springs...

DON'T EASE ... DON'T EASE...

As I was resupplying in the local grocery store, someone said to me, ‘HEY, BILL. PORTLAND JUST DRAFTED YOU NO. 1.’ … The draft is so important because it reflects so much of the new beginnings that the Love It Live Tour has come to represent. More importantly, it’s not the opening of doors in life that counts, it’s what you do when you get to the other side … DAY DIVIDES THE NIGHT … NIGHT DIVIDES THE DAY … TRY TO RUN … TRY TO HIDE … BREAK ON THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE … BREAK ON THROUGH… One thought of enhancing the NBA Draft is to feature two rounds for the teams THAT DID NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. Teams that make the playoffs should not receive a pick in that year’s draft. Instead, the teams that toiled in mediocrity and who roil in desperate need for a makeover will have the best chance of quickly realizing their dreams of joining the GRAND FESTIVAL...

We’re at the championship now. There’s nothing more important in life than DELIVERING PEAK PERFORMANCE ON COMMAND … Everything we’ve talked about the previous 29 days is all about preparation, is all about getting ready for this GRAND MOMENT. If you can’t make it happen on your terms when they throw the ball up, what kind of player are you really? …

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PICTURE A BRIGHT BLUE BALL JUST SPINNING, SPINNING FREE … DIZZY WITH ETERNITY… Most of my dreams in life have come true. The greatest moment for me, though, on the basketball court, didn’t take place in any championship game or any Hall of Fame induction ceremony, including the Academic Hall of Fame or the Grateful Dead Hall of Honor. For me, the apex came at a practice at the end of my career with the Boston Celtics. I LIVED FOR PRACTICE. I was always the first one there – COULDN’T WAIT for it to get started … I TRY MY BEST TO BE JUST LIKE I AM …. BUT EVERYBODY WANTS YOU TO BE JUST LIKE THEM

The way to get good in basketball or in anything else is by playing one on one. To eventually get so good that they have to guard you with two guys, then you pick them apart with pinpoint, precision passing, leaving the opponents spinning around, dazed and confused. I used to wait for all of the guys to walk through the gym door, and call ’em out, ‘LET’S GO. WE HAVE WORK TO DO HERE.’…

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DJ, The Chief, Bird, Ainge, Wedman, Sichting, -- you have to play them all -- you have to be able to beat each and every type of opponent. But the one I really waited for was Kevin McHALE, the second best low-post player that I ever played against. When McHale came through that door, I knew the day was complete. Kevin and I used to play ONE-ON-ONE constantly. On this particular day during the NBA Finals of ’86, Kevin and I were in a state of pure bliss, GOING AT IT, never keeping score, never calling fouls, just enjoying ourselves, working our way toward THE ZONE.

DON'T EASE ... DON'T EASE...

NBA STORE

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

K.C. Jones knew we needed to start the team practice. He blew his whistle sharply and called us down. As we joined the squad at the other end, the trash talking – relentless all season – took on new heights. Our verbal games were every bit the equal as the real thing. K.C. Jones who had heard this nonsense all year long, said, ‘Enough. Enough. LET’S PLAY THIS THING OUT, SO THAT IT’S NOT ABOUT TALK, BUT IT’S ABOUT FACT, IT’S ABOUT HISTORY.

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K.C. Jones began organizing this dynamic game of one on one confrontation between me, an old broken down infantry man, and Kevin McHale, an MVP-level player at the time. I told myself, ‘I need 20 seconds to gather my thoughts.’ As I was toweling off, tugging on my knee pads, my wrist bands, making sure my finger tape was in perfect order, my shoes crisply tied, reminding myself, ‘Bill, you’ve already had 27 operations, you’ve already broken your nose 13 times, you had your front teeth knocked out 10 times, I’m a very slow learner. For those of you still playing basketball, DON’T PLAY DEFENSE WITH YOUR FACE, IT’S NOT A GOOD IDEA.

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I came out of my trance, realizing that this dream opportunity to be part of something really special was something that I had been missing for a very long time. Here were the Celtics, my boyhood team. They were all lined up. The history of the NBA.

As we were about to start the game, I suddenly realized that we didn’t have a referee. Quickly interjecting that thought, everyone started looking over their shoulders. In the moment of doubt and hesitation that is always present in a group dynamic, I jumped in and said, ‘I want Dennis Johnson to the referee.’ Everyone concurred -- DJ WOULD BE THE ONE. Little did the young guys – Bird, Ainge, McHale – realize that DJ and I were contemporaries. I was from San Diego, DJ from Compton. I went to UCLA – DJ to Pepperdine. I was a Blazer -- DJ a Sonic. The rivalry persisted throughout our lives. And there was that one fateful day back in the Spring of 1978. I was the reigning MVP and we were the sitting World Champions. The Blazers were scheduled to take on DJ’s upstart Seattle Sonics - in the playoffs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t play because of yet another of the endless stress fractures that had taken me down one more time. I tried everything. The doctors didn’t believe I was hurt. Is there ever a more lonely feeling on earth when you know something is wrong and the doctor’s say to you, ‘You’re fine.’

DON'T EASE ... DON'T EASE ... I’VE BEEN ALL NIGHT LONG COMING HOME … DON’T EASE ME IN …...

They thought it was in my mind. They took me to hypnotists and faith healers…

THERE’S A FEAR DOWN HERE WE CAN’T FORGET … HASN’T GOT A NAME JUST YET … ALWAYS AWAKE … ALWAYS AROUND … SINGING ASHES, ASHES, ALL FALL DOWN…Ultimately in the locker room before the game with Dennis Johnson and his Sonics, I was BEGGING, PLEADING, CRYING for a chance to get out there and help my team win another game, win another title … I WANNA LOVE YOU NIGHT AND DAY … YOU KNOW OUR LOVE WILL NOT FADE AWAY … YOU KNOW OUR LOVE WILL NOT FADE AWAY …The doctor said, ‘I have one idea left.’ I said, ‘Anything, doc. PLEASE HELP ME. THIS IS MY LIFE.’

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He pulled out a big long needle with a huge fat suringe full of xylocaine. He plunged it straight into the base of my ankle and suddenly … RAINBOWS, WHITE PUFFY CLOUDS, DOVES OF PEACE FLYING ACROSS THE SKY … MOZART on the piano, contrary motion scales, Arpeggios up and down the keyboard, BEETHOVEN – CRASHING THUNDER -- it was all so beautiful. It was all so perfect.

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The youth of America, including these three young gentlemen, embrace the "Love It Live!" Tour and receive Walton autographs for their dedication.
Aaron Ryan/NBAE

For the first time in two months my foot was RIGHT. We went out there and Blazermania instantly reappeared. We were killing ’em. Backdoor passes, fast breaks, blocked shots, it was all right there for us. And at the 15-minute mark, Dennis Johnson and the Seattle SuperSonics were already a beaten and broken team. They were ready to cry in their beer and walk home. We had a 20-point lead early and the game, the series the next championship was already ours. But at that moment, that small undiagnosed stress fracture in my foot – THE BONE SPLIT IN HALF … I spent the next eight years chasing a dream. A dream of being part of something special. And I got that chance, when LARRY, RED and the BOSTON CELTICS allowed me to get back into the game. The Celtics NOT ONLY GAVE ME MY CAREER BACK, THEY GAVE ME MY LIFE BACK... I WILL GET BY ... I WILL SURVIVE ...

NOW I'M GONNA MAKE IT SOMEHOW ... I NEED ANOTHER CHANCE ... YOU SEE YOUR BABY LOVES TO DANCE ... I took the ball from referee Dennis Johnson and I proceeded to KICK KEVIN MCHALE’S BEHIND ALL OVER THE COURT. The game winner -- I blew by him --and threw down A WICKED DUNK! The ball went through the net and Kevin went over and started crying on Danny Ainge’s shoulder. I picked up the ball and tossed it to K.C. Jones, and said, ‘K.C., NO PRACTICE TODAY! We’re going to the bar.’ K.C. said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to the bar.’ …Red Auerbach was there that day, as he always was during the championships. Sitting there stunned in his rocking chair, watching this moment of history transpire. His MVP, Kevin McHale, his main horse, had just been trounced by someone who couldn’t even play any more. RED RE-LIT HIS CIGAR, which had gone out during the course of the game, in stunned bewilderment. Red stood up, took one last drag of that magnificent stogie, belched out the last bit of Chinese food and said, ‘Men, we’re going to the bar. Let’s go!’ In our practice gear, we jumped into cars and raced down to Red’s Chinese restaurant. Red pulled out his Celtic Green credit card and we won the championship that day.’

DON’T EASE … DON’T EASE …I’VE BEEN ALL NIGHT LONG COMING HOME … DON’T EASE ME IN

The same way the New Jersey Nets looked like Eastern Conference Champions today. They delivered PEAK PERFORMANCE ON COMMAND. They were ready. Their defense, ball movement and domination of the paint area overwhelmed a rested, fresh and seemingly primed Celtics squad. Former Celtic legends were in attendance today … TINY ARCHIBALD and BILL RUSSELL. The Celtics obviously could have used those guys because nothing good was happening for the GREEN. Kidd, Kittles, Van Horn, Martin and Jefferson controlled the pace of the game throughout. You always have to wonder if Paul Pierce’s comments prior to the series about no one being able to stop him had any sort of motivational effect on the Nets? The Net loyalists were fanatically on Pierce’s case all night long. If you’re going to make statements like that, YOU BETTER BACK IT UP. YOU BETTER BE ABLE TO DELIVER PEAK PERFORMANCE ON COMMAND … DON’T EASE … DON’T EASE …

I’ll never forget the time when Larry was having trouble with his back and his elbow. He was not playing that well and the Cleveland Cavaliers thought they were going to get him. They started taunting him, razzing him, telling him that HE was NO GOOD. THAT HE WAS DONE. Larry had to sit out a game, the fans called him a malinger, a faker, Larry said, ‘Oh, yeah, watch this.’ Then he called all of the fans in Cleveland a bunch of dumb farmers, which ENRAGED them even more. Larry went out and TORCHED the CAVS for 50-PLUS POINTS and sent their fans back to the FIELDS.

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Celtics loyalists can take heart in the fact that they lost the first game in the Detroit series and then came back to win four straight. But THINGS ARE DIFFERENT NOW. The Celtics ARE NOT coming off a short turnaround after an emotional victory over Philadelphia. There were NO EXCUSES TODAY. They got HAMMERED.

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The social scene in the arena continued the WOODSTOCK, LOVE FARM THEME. Sitting with my two sons, Nate and Chris, I now know that there IS NOTHING BETTER ON EARTH than to share the joys and successes of others with your family. To see Richard Jefferson, once again, THROW IT DOWN!, THROW IT DOWN!, was the exhilarating play of the day in a game that New Jersey seemingly controlled and had in hand throughout.

BIG RED'S
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Jason and his Band of Pranksters have broken their curse. No one on the Knicks seems to be aware that they’re under their own peculiar one.”

THERE WAS NEWS FROM THE HOME FRONT AS WELL FROM CHRIS: Ichiban, our local Sushi bar, called to invite us to the annual Sushi eating contest today. As the reigning champion of that WORLD CLASS EVENT, I unfortunately had to pass this year. The Love It Live Tour takes precedence over all. Bumped into longtime friend John Shere. John -- MR. NEW JERSEY -- a New York/East Coast concert promoter who has carried the torch for so many years in putting the greatest shows on earth within easy reach.

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The halftime show at the Meadowlands today featured a drum corps. As they pounded away with the magnificent rhythms and beats, in their crisp uniforms and their fancy looking equipment, spit-polished shoes. I can only think back to a young Mickey Hart, who grew up in a military drum environment. As Mickey came of age. He often tells the story of his dreams as a kid, ‘When I grow up, I want to be the drummer in the greatest dance band in the world.’

There’s nothing better in life than dreams coming true. Today, I got to sit with two of my children and with two of the finest ladies I ever met, MARY and SHIRLEY, who had the misfortune of sitting directly behind three Waltons, the shortest being 6-8. These queens sat there patiently amidst the madness of the TOUR and autograph circle that grows ever larger by the day. Mary and Shirley are 15-year Net season ticket holders, convinced that there time is now, and they have never been happier. They organized everything. They insisted that the young kids say PLEASE and THANK YOU while showing them how to position the towels, shirts, cards, ticket stubs, caps and foreheads, so they can get the best possible autographs. It’s as if I was a kid again back at story time with mom at the library after school.

I thanked Mary and Shirley, like I thank my MOM and DAD and Coach Wooden for their endless patience … Patience that is running thin on my side … Patience for the Sacramento Kings as Captain Jack delivers us to California one final time on the tour.

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Will we see a different scenario? Will the Lakers revert to complacency and lackluster performances? Will Sacramento even bother to show up? Sacramento is still a young team on the rise, geared to contend for the next four or five seasons. You have to wonder, though, after reading some of Chris Webber’s rationalizations AND EXCUSES, if he has ever even heard of THE BUS … YOU BETTER START SWIMMING OR YOU’LL SINK LIKE A STONE ... DON’T EASE … DON’T EASE …DON’T EASE ME IN …I’VE BEEN ALL NIGHT LONG COMING HOME … DON’T EASE ME IN …