Max Mandel's Blog

Max Mandel

Oct 16

Tears Of Joy Mark Walton's Arrival In Rip City

By Max Mandel Posted in: Blazers, billwalton




Although it has been over 30 years since Bill Walton helped lead the Trail Blazers to the NBA championship, nothing could eliminate the memories and feelings that exist between Walton and the city of Portland. Directly upon his arrival in Portland this morning, Walton was reminded of the passion that Trail Blazers fans possess.

"This lady and her daughter came up to me," Walton said about his arrival at PDX. "She just got right up into my face, and I was standing off to the side waiting, and she got right in my face and said 'I was there, I was there'.....and she turned to her daughter and she said, 'this man was part of something special'."

Returning to Portland brought back great memories for Walton, including the opportunity to reminisce about the success that both he and the team had.

"This is ultimately where I played my best basketball," Walton said of Portland. "When it was such an unbelievable team, the youngest team to ever win a championship....Jack Ramsay made me the best player I ever was. The Blazer Maniacs, they drove me to levels I honestly could never get to by myself. The love they gave me, I could not return."

Being able to return to Portland was an overwhelming experience for Walton, who has battled severe injuries since his playing career.

"On the plane ride coming up here today, I had tears of joy streaming down my cheeks. When you come down to the Willamette Valley on that airplane, and you see Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge, and you see Lewis and Clark carrying the championship banner right down there, it was just unbelievable." 

3 Comments

  1. It was great getting to see him in person when he spoke to the Trail Blazers staff. He was extremely emotional and kept apologizing for not being a better "family" member to the Trail Blazers and the city of Portland. It was extremely genuine and endearing.

    by Dan Harbison on 10/16/2009 8:15 PM
  2. wow, with as connected as he has been with the Lakers and the city of Los Angeles, it is nice to hear him recognize Portland for what it truly is. He has always acknowledged the Portland fans, but it always seemed like it was from a distance. It is just nice to see that he was reminded of how truly special Rip City is. Is there video of Walton's return? He has a really good way with words and is a great story teller. I would like to hear what he had to say.

    by RipCityRevival on 10/16/2009 9:25 PM
  3. I listened to the podcast and I had to pause afterward. I hope the Blazer players of today can look over and see that we are all part of somethig greater than any of the individual parts, greater than the fans, greater than the Schonz. All these parts make up something incredibly unique. I can't wait to see this flower blossom, because when it does it will be truly glorious to have been a Blazer fan all this time.

    by RipCityRevival on 10/17/2009 5:36 PM
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