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Just Chill, Says Bill
Steve Rushin
May 06, 2002
Hot about the glacial pace of the NBA playoffs? A wise old Deadhead advises you to cool it
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May 06, 2002

Just Chill, Says Bill

Hot about the glacial pace of the NBA playoffs? A wise old Deadhead advises you to cool it

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But, Bill, you're not exactly traveling by bus these days....

"I tried. I tried to get Ken Kesey's bus, but it didn't pass California emissions testing. Too much smoke coming out of it." But, Bill, your journey thus far, from Sacramento to Los Angeles to East Rutherford to Charlotte to Boston to Seattle to Portland to Salt Lake City to Indianapolis: Surely it has proved, to use a basketball phrase, that traveling is a violation.

"No, I've had plenty of high-altitude training for this sort of thing. Fifteen years ago, when Neil Young, the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones and the Jerry Garcia Band were all on tour at the same time, I went to 17 shows in 17 days. The difference this time: There's no sleeping in parking lots and bathing in public fountains."

But, Bill, the playoffs. They're too long. Dallas had a shorter TV run than Dallas-Minnesota....

"All I know is that New Jersey used to be a morgue, and last week I danced with 20,000 people there to the Spencer Davis Group singin' Gimme Some Lovin'. I met fans in Charlotte who still love basketball even though they've been—as we all know—the victims of a coup. I watched Game 1 of Celtics-Sixers on TV from Los Angeles, and my life flashed before my eyes. First playoff game in Boston in seven years, the crowd chanting 'MVP!' and all I could think of was watching Russell and Wilt on TV as a kid and knowing that is what I want to do with my life."

But, Bill, you're ruining my column. I was trying to work up some moral outrage here. This was supposed to be a screed against the plodding playoffs. Seattle's been rendered subsonic. The FleetCenter isn't. Speedy Claxton ain't.

"Listen. Last spring I had my 31st surgery, an ankle fusion, and my son Nathan sat at the edge of my hospital bed and said, 'Bill, what are you gonna do when you're able to walk?' And I said, 'Nate, I'm never gonna sit down again.' And I'm not. I'm having the time of my life. The music never stops."

But, Bill, that's wonderful. Which is to say, terrible. Your happiness has robbed me of a column. You're parading on my rain.

"You know, there's another great line from that Dead song. 'They busted me for smilin' on a cloudy day.' That's true. You notice that? Nobody likes it when you smile on a cloudy day."

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