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Coach Rick Carlisle Reveals How His Former Teammate Bill Walton Helped Him Set up a Date in 1987 With His Current Wife

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Rick Carlisle, the head coach of the Indiana Pacers, recently shared a heartwarming story about his former Boston Celtics teammate, Bill Walton. While Walton was known for his prowess on the basketball court, it was an off-court assist that left a lasting impact on Carlisle’s life.

The tweet reads: “Coach Rick Carlisle recalls how his former Celtics teammate Bill Walton helped him with a first date in 1987 with his current wife today ️.” This anecdote highlights the power of friendship, and the unexpected ways teammates can leave a lasting impact beyond the basketball court.

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The First Date

Carlisle and Walton were teammates on the legendary 1986 Boston Celtics championship team. Their on-court connection translated into a genuine friendship, which extended beyond the final buzzer. In 1987, Carlisle was smitten with a woman he wanted to impress on a first date. However, he lacked tickets to the highly anticipated Grateful Dead concert she was eager to attend. Knowing Walton’s deep love for the band, Carlisle took a chance and reached out to his former teammate.

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In 1987, Carlisle had a first date with his now-wife, Donna. Their destination? A Grateful Dead concert in Washington, D.C. As any nervous dater would, Carlisle sought advice. But instead of turning to a dating expert, he reached out to Bill Walton—a man with a unique connection to the iconic band. Walton, the former UCLA star and NBA Hall of Famer, was a devoted Grateful Dead fan dating back to the 1960s.

Bill Walton’s Grateful Assist: Backstage Passes and Lasting Memories

Coach Rick Carlisle Reveals How His Former Teammate Bill Walton Helped Him Set up a Date in 1987 With His Current Wife - THE SPORTS ROOM

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Walton, a legendary Grateful Dead “Deadhead,” was known for his close ties to the band. Walton immediately offered assistance after learning about Carlisle’s situation. He instructed Carlisle to head to the back entrance of the venue and ask for a specific individual. With a simple “I’m Rick Carlisle from the Boston Celtics,” the doors of opportunity swung open. Carlisle was met with two laminated passes – one for him and one for his date, labeled “Bill Walton” and “Susie Walton” (a presumed alias). This unexpected VIP treatment, courtesy of Bill Walton, ensured a memorable first date for Carlisle.

Rick Carlisle took a moment during a pre-game press conference to express his grief. Carlisle, his voice thick with emotion, spoke about Walton’s impact, not just as a teammate on their 1986 championship Celtics team, but also as a friend. He revealed being part of a text thread with other members of that championship team, sharing memories and coming to terms with the loss. Carlisle’s heartfelt tribute underscored the deep bond he shared with Walton, a bond that transcended the basketball court and highlighted Walton’s unique personality and lasting impact on those who knew him.

ALSO READ: Cameron Brink Reveals How She Fell in Love With Basketball- “I wanted to be different”

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