Bill Walton

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48″x24″ Hand Cut, Painted, Sewed Felt Appliqué

I became the basketball player

I was because of the Grateful Dead. I’m a fan and a friend, I met them in 1974 when I first joined the NBA and my life has never been he same since.

I’m a different person today than I was yesterday. I live for the moment and everything that happens in my life changes me. That’s what I tried to share in this book, Back From The Dead, the ability to learn, to dream, to hope. In a world that is far too often selling fear and death, I’m selling hope and life and success and that’s why I chose to be part of the Grateful Dead.

My relationship, my friendships with them, has shaped me. Our house is a shrine to all our musical heroes. Our house is full of musical instruments. I love to play music. I’m terrible at it, but I love learning about it and to study the way they put the songs together and the timing and the beat and the pace and the rhythm and the lyrics, it’s fantastic. And it’s so inspirational in terms of making me want to become better.

I like a lot of other music and listen to a lot of other music, but one of the greatest things about the Grateful Dead is they played all the time. During the course of my life, they played all the time. There were constantly concerts you could go to. I love live music. I love going to the event. And to know them as people and to have seen them grow up and become who they are is so incredibly special.

When I’m at a show, I’m yelling and cheering. I’m with those guys. I had this fantastic collection of Grateful Dead T-shirts and live concert music the band had give me over all these years, decades of material, and when our boys became teenagers they started going through everything and wearing the shirts and listening to the music and that’s what the Grateful Dead is all about.


-Bill Walton


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