Walton Interview, Pt. 5

What is it like to play in a hostile environment on the road?
“It’s what you live for. When you’re out there playing and you’re on the road – and the road victories are the most satisfying, that’s what it’s all about – to be able to go into a place and make those people who are just so incensed and unhappy at your success, and you make them sit down and you make them shut up and you make them cry in their beer, walk home with their tails between their legs. YES. That’s just the absolute best. But then when they come and they win…oh, man. That just encourages them all the more.”

Where were the toughest places to play?
“Here and Notre Dame – at least here they had girls at the school. Notre Dame, that was tough there too. The only place I only saw the scoreboard bounce was Mac Court at the collegiate level and Boston Garden at the professional level. We were just really hoping and praying that that scoreboard was going to stay up there. These fans up here are terrific. They know how to drive the train.”

What does it mean for you to be here today?
“It means everything – I played my best basketball for the Portland Trailblazers. I’ve been part of some of the most special teams in the history of professional basketball. UCLA Bruins – those records still stand until this very day. The Portland Trailblazers, the youngest team to win the champiuonship. We would’ve won so many more had it not been for the unfortunate untimely injuries. When you’re touched by something special, like I’ve been in my life – the remarkable people, with the honorable and just teammates, with the fantastic spirits and really soul of all the people involved – I’ve spent the rest of my life trying to chase that down. To be able to be here tonight, to be able to be in the game one more time, to see Larry Holliday, who was a hero to us all, to be back in Mac Court – they’re going to tear this building down and it will only just be a memory – but it will be the whole gamut of memories. From joy to sorrow, from happiness to gloom, from exultation to absolute embarrassment. That’s really what life’s all about.”

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