Hall of Famer and NBA on NBC analyst Bill Walton, who led his Portland Trail Blazers to an NBA championship 25 years ago, is again making history as he "Loves it Live" by traveling to 30 NBA games in 30 nights during NBA Playoffs 2002. Walton, who has been known to "tour" with the Grateful Dead, begins his long, strange trip on Saturday when he calls the Utah at Sacramento game for NBC (3 p.m. ET). He'll call the Portland at L.A. Lakers game on NBC on Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET) and then embark across the country with stops in New Jersey, Charlotte, Detroit and Boston...all before Friday! Walton will file daily reports on NBA.com and a special "Where's Walton?" section to document the entire trip will launch early next week. Let the tour begin.
has begun ... 30 games in 30 days
-- rivaling some of the other great journeys in my life:
... the 1970’s trips to the Philippines, Egypt with the Grateful Dead, the Galapagos; the college summers spent hitch hiking or riding my bike around/across the US and Canada ...
... the 1980’s trips to Baja, Europe, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Alaska, Clipper road trips, Colorado, Utah’s canyons, lakes, rivers and red rock country, far too many visits to the hospital and doctors offices ...
... the 1990’s sojourns to Israel, Turkey, Brazil, Sweden, many more times to all points in Europe, Hawaii, the Caribbean; then in the new millennium -- Australia for the Olympics and beyond.
But this Love It Live tour promises to surpass them all, the only tour coming close would be the time about 10-15 years ago (things have gotten a bit fuzzy/hazy over the years) when the Dead, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young and the Jerry Garcia Band were all on tour simultaneously: Seventeen straight nights of one or the other, crisscrossing the country and Canada, red-eye flights, scrambling to get there by show time -- now that was a run for the roses ...
Eight months ago I was lying in my hospital bed recovering from surgery to fuse my left ankle, my 31st operation on these legs that just would not carry me through my dreams when my second son, Nathan, checked in on me. His parting question was, “Dad, what are you going to do when you finally get better and get up and out of this bed?" My response was that I was never going to sit down again.
This Love It Live tour will be the fulfillment of that dream.
Leaving beautiful San Diego at dawn, my hometown has never looked better: the crystal clear sky, the sparkling, glassy waters of the Pacific, the surreal colors of a new day, the plants, birds and rocks glistening in the morning dew, saying goodbye to my parents, Lori, the boys, the dogs, the Steinway pianos, the Jacuzzi and steam bath, my bikes, the weight room, the drums, the plants resplendent in spring bloom.
Now it’s just my laptop, cell phone and reading material. ... Traveling very light, on the buy-as-you-go itinerary.
Back on the road, the games await, chase it down; what a run, what a life. ... Sacramento, LA, New Jersey, Charlotte, Detroit, Boston, for starters, then I’ll wake up, scan the news for the best game then move on again. ... Twenty-six years on tour with the Dead; 28 years of the glory of the NBA; the circus is on the move again. ... This will be the best: finding the rhythm, the beat, the flow of the river, the games; Love It Live, print the T-shirts. ...
I'm on my way, the playoffs have begun. ...
I think my dogs will remember me.
I don’t know if anyone else will.