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, APRIL 28: PORTLAND, OREGON

By Bill Walton
They’re selling postcards of the hanging and Cinderella is sweeping up on Desolation Row...

Couldn’t sleep past the dawn this morning in Portland as the anxiety of yet another Blazers-Lakers game was brimming...


Bill plays Santa Claus in Portland, passing around "Love It Live!" T-shirts to the Blazers faithful.
Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Images

EVERYBODY IS MAKING LOVE OR ELSE EXPECTING RAIN... I was out the door early in the morning fog. Up to Forest Park, a 5,000 acre urban preserve with 60 miles of trails, 7 ½ miles long by a mile ½ wide, with Leif Erickson Drive meandering along the hillside, spectacular views of the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. I spoke to Leif this morning and he wanted a Love It Live! Tour T-shirt. I said that they were only available via NBA.com... The bikers, walkers, joggers and dogs were out in full force, everyone sporting their Blazers colors with hopes of inspiring the team from the depths of maddening self destruction...

I went walking this morning with one of my oldest friends, Roger Goldingay -- a man who I have known since my earliest days here in Portland. Roger is a former professional soccer player in the NASL. His career was derailed by his own teammate who was worried that Roger was going to outplay him and ultimately take his job. How selfish. How greedy. How senseless. How sad. I thought we were all on the same team?...

Roger and I solved most of the world’s problems this morning on our two-hour walk through the incredibly lush grandeur of Forest Park, an urban paradise whose sub title is, “Wild in the City.” The creeks, the springs, the lush vegetation, the wild flowers, the blossoms on the trees, the moss, the lichen, the birds, the wildlife, the deer, the squirrels. Forest Park gave us the quiet contemplative space that we needed to prepare for the Blazers biggest game of the season. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail...

Roger and I have seen the world together – the Galapagos, Egypt with the Dead, Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, Santa Catalina and the Channel Islands off Southern California, raft trips on the Salmon and Snake Rivers in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and the numerous trips to Baja. Then there was the time we went to the U.S. Geological Service here in Oregon to get a thermal hot springs map of the state. We then visited every single one... Australia, Dylan and the Dead, Springsteen and Eagles tours, but realizing that more important than memories is the future. We decided that our next three trips would be biking and kayak oriented to Southern Utah, retracing the Lewis and Clarke trail and then, once again, back to Santa Catalina and the Channel Islands.


Bill, one of the best passing centers of all time, shows he's still got game when he dishes "Where's Walton?" T-shirts to fans courtside.
Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Images

On our way back to the hotel, we visited the old neighborhood along Northwest 23rd Street. Wallace Park, where we used to play pick-up games, both basketball and soccer. The food co-ops -- Saturday Market was in full swing, expanding like this now bustling metropolis that now boasts almost two million people. Expanding so much that Saturday Market is now held on Sunday...

I also spent some time with longtime friend John Bassett, who I met the day I signed my first NBA contract in May of 1974. John is number 70 on the Blazers all-time season ticket holders list and you can count on one hand the number of home games that this Portland, Oregon native has missed. I spend hours on the phone during the course of the year with John. A lawyer by trade, a basketball fan by passion. I speak to John literally every night, recapping the news from around the league, as he fills me in on the things that I’m unavailable to catch myself. We’ll be having dinner tonight at dusk...

NBA STORE

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

I also had the privilege of a brief visit with Maurice Lucas, the greatest teammate that I’ve ever had. The man who along with Jack Ramsay and the Blazermaniacs are the reason the ’77 championship banner hangs in Portland today. A man so important in my life that I named my third son after Big Luke...

The morning fog burned off and the spectacular Willamette Valley and Columbia Gorge were teaming with life. The weather was spectacular, you couldn’t ask for a better Oregon day. Mount Hood was towering in the distance while people were water skiing on the Willamette River through downtown Portland. I was so ready, I didn’t even need a vehicle, much less a boat, to go down stream the ¾ of the mile to the Rose Garden, perfectly framed out of the northern exposure window from my hotel room.

The game was not brilliantly played, but emotionally charged with the rivalry of these two bitter enemies. The fans in Portland so desperately wanting to eliminate the dreaded Lakers and at one point in the game, it appeared their wishes would be granted for at least another day. The response from the Lakers was... YOU’RE IN THE WRONG PLACE MY FRIEND, YOU BETTER LEAVE...

The tension, competition and battles raged throughout the Rose Garden this afternoon on all fronts... ALL THE AGENTS AND THE SUPERHUMAN CREW CAME OUT AND ROUNDED UP EVERYONE THAT KNOWS MORE THAN THEY DO... The Blazers cheerleaders took the Love It Live! Tour T-shirts to their liveliest bounce yet by wearing them during their dance routines... WHERE LOVELY MERMAIDS FLOW AND NOBODY HAS TO THINK TOO MUCH ABOUT DESOLATION ROW... Blazermaniacs were clamoring for the Love It Live! T-shirts, although there was definitely a measure of resolution and acceptance that the Lakers are indeed the better team... THOUGH HER DEATH IS QUITE ROMANTIC, SHE WEARS AN IRON VEST. HER PROFESSION’S HER RELIGION. HER SIN IS HER LIFELESSNESS...

BIG RED'S
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“When all was said and done, we were reminded once again today, that the biggest battles for the greatest prizes are always won on the mental level.”

It’s inexplicable to me see so many fans in the Rose Garden wearing Lakers shirts. My, how things have changed... As the game reached its stunning conclusion, with yet another Blazers breakdown, it was sad, disappointing, frustrating and exasperating to see once again the Blazers season come to an inglorious conclusion. The long, sad faces of the fans told the story as they filed out of the exits one last time, filled with feelings of frustration and unfulfilled dreams... NOW YOU WOULD NOT THINK TO LOOK AT HIM BUT HE WAS FAMOUS LONG AGO FOR PLAYING THE ELECTRIC VIOLIN ON DESOLATION ROW...

Mount Hood will erode to a mole hill before we would have enough time to explain the Blazers errors down the stretch... It’s unimaginable that management will keep this same core of Blazers players together... YES, I KNOW THEM. THEY’RE QUITE LAME. I HAD TO REARRANGE THEIR FACES AND GIVE THEM ALL ANOTHER NAME The end of the season is always so very sad and lonely. It was such a perfect day in Oregon. The sun has just dipped behind the western ridges of Forest Park. Mount Hood, looming over the city to the east, is still blazing red from the setting sun. As I look really close, I can see tears dripping down for yet another missed opportunity... And alas, once again, the Blazers will not be pouring beer on the mayor’s head this year. Where is Maurice Lucas when you really need him most?