7.27.2018

Walton Tried to Make Celtics a Bunch of Dead Heads



November 5, 2014


You just never know what you’re going to learn about the NBA’s most storied franchise.

Today is the 30th anniversary of Bill Walton’s 32nd birthday. Why is that so important?

Nov. 5 marks the 30th anniversary of Bill Walton’s 32d birthday, which was also the day his first wife arranged to have a stripper perform for him at midcourt of the gym at Hellenic College (Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology) after Celtics practice.

A couple of members of the Grateful Dead were on hand (Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, if memory serves), but the one thing I’m certain of is that Danny Ainge and Greg Kite bolted for the locker room as soon as the young lady with the boom box began her routine.

So when Ainge joined Toucher & Rich Thursday morning, Fred Toucher couldn’t resist asking about Walton and his love for the Grateful Dead. It’s well-known that Fred isn’t a fan of the Dead, and it turns out, neither is Ainge.

“When Bill first got here he gave me a disc of some sort to listen to the Grateful Dead, so I told him I’d try. I came back the next day and told him I wasn’t feeling it, but asked for his favorite song. He tears the thing out of my hand and says, ‘When you’re a Dead fan, it’s all one song.'”

Ainge said Walton had Grateful Dead stickers all over Boston’s locker room at Hellenic College, but there were no drawn out guitar riffs invading their space back then.

“We didn’t even have any music in the locker room those days,” he explained. “Now you have guys with ear plugs in shooting on the court, speakers throughout the practice facility and the weight room. We didn’t have any of that.”

There was some actual basketball talk as well. Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday that Rajon Rondo turned down a 5-year, $70 million deal from Boston last season before he was traded. Ainge refuted that report Thursday morning, saying such an offer was impossible to make under the league’s CBA.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do that. The reason Rondo wouldn’t have accepted the offer is he was planning on free agency, but we wouldn’t have been able to make that offer under the CBA. It was more like a two-year offer, and only for a percentage of what he was making – $12 or $13 million,” explained Ainge. “Most of the things put out there aren’t true.”

That’s a reality Boston’s president of basketball operations has had to deal with these days. But even if he knows he’s dealing with a team or agent that leaks information, it doesn’t keep Ainge from exploring the best moves for his team.

“I can’t not do business with somebody. I do know there are teams and agents where if I go talk with them, there’s a really good chance it’s going to be out there in the media,” he said. “I just have to accept that.”

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