Bill Walton loves the Grateful Dead more than any one person loves any one entity in the known universe.  The Dead just performed their last show in Chicago to mark their 50th anniversary together and you can bet that the big redhead was there.

Appropriately enough, ESPN asked Walton to identify fellow ESPNers with Grateful Dead songs.  The results are pretty remarkable:

Said Walton: “With the Grateful Dead, it’s all one song – with many different verses; and it’s all one show – with varying amounts of time between the stanzas. And while no list can ever be complete, here are a few experimental sunshine daydreams to get us started on the golden road to unlimited devotion.”

• Brent Musburger — “Built to Last”“Comes a Time”“The Days Between”“Saint of Circumstance”“Estimated Prophet”“Terrapin Station”

• Jay Bilas – “Pride of Cucamonga”“Cosmic Charley”“Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo”“Cryptical Envelopment”“Black Throated Wind”

• Seth Greenberg — “Crazy Fingers”“Cream Puff War”“King Solomon’s Marbles”“Bertha”“My Brother Esau”“Feel Like a Stranger”“St. Stephen”“The Eleven”

• Keith Olbermann – “Help on the Way”“Slipknot”“Franklin’s Tower”“Touch of Grey”

• Doris Burke — “Cassidy”“Bird Song”“Althea”“Fennario”“Stella Blue”

• Mike Tirico — “Eyes of the World”“Let it Grow”“Box of Rain”“Ripple”

• Dave Pasch — My computer has limited capacity – he needs the whole catalog, we’ll start with “Lost Sailor”

• Stuart Scott – Aiko. . . Aiko. Sadly, “He’s Gone”

Walton was even able to poke fun at Pac 12 broadcast partner Dave Pasch:

How would Dave Pasch help (or hinder) your hosting duties for the three shows in Chicago?

Who??? Dave??? Please, is that the guy I sit next to during the ESPN Pac-12 telecasts??? Dave??? Really???

Please, hosting a Grateful Dead broadcast is a most sacred and solemn duty and responsibility. It is very serious business and hard work. It requires comprehensive knowledge and countless, untold skills. To be in “The Chair” usually demands that you know something about what you’re supposed to be talking about. I’m sure Dave – it is Dave, right ? – feels the same way about me on our show. 

This is not the first time I’ve done this. And that can be said about most everything in my 48 years of life with the Grateful Dead.

One particular year, I co-hosted a Grateful Dead New Year’s Eve broadcast. I think it was almost 30 years ago. Who, and how, can you remember? The co-conspirators on the broadcast team that night were Ken Kesey, Al Franken and Father Guido Sarducci. It was a different type of show than what Dave – it is Dave, right? – is used to.

Pasch was quick to respond:

I hope these two never change.


About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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