John Mayer Breaks Down Why Bill Walton Is the Ultimate Hype Man

Bill Walton

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It’s safe to say Bill Walton has taken a pretty long and strange trip through life, as the man who made a name for himself at UCLA before playing 10 seasons in the NBA has a reputation for being the ultimate free spirit who occupies a reality that seems like it’s a very enjoyable place to inhabit.

That’s fairly evident to basically anyone who’s tuned into a basketball game where Walton is on the mic, which tend to be some wildly entertaining affairs thanks to his tendency to do things like swallow a burning candle, imitate a menagerie of wild animals, and go off on tangents concerning topics that have absolutely nothing to do with the action unfolding on the hardwood.

It’s hard to talk about Walton’s esoteric nature without mentioning the fact that he’s a diehard fan of the Grateful Dead, a band known for attracting a legion of followers who have a tendency to, um, expand their minds in a wide variety of ways.

Walton got the chance to see Jerry Garcia and the rest of the gang do their thing for the first time when he was 15, and the 70-year-old icon estimates he’s seen the band (and the handful of Dead-adjacent offshoots it’s spawned) over 1,000 times.

That group of Dead Affiliates includes John Mayer, who’s been touring with Dead & Company since 2015. He and Walton have crossed paths plenty of times during that span (including at least one show where the basketball legend crashed the stage), and it’s safe to say the wildly accomplished musician is a big fan of one of the biggest Deadheads (both literally and figuratively) out there.

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On Monday, Mayer was a guest on Throw It Down, the weekly alternative NBA broadcast that Walton recently launched.

During the appearance, he made it very clear he has the utmost respect for the fan he undoubtedly considered a friend while explaining why he’s the kind of guy you want to have in your corner.

Here’s what he had to say:

“When Bill gives you advice, he looks you dead in the eye and everything stops.

He speaks with this cadence—’Go out there. Give it your absolute all. Don’t be shy. They are here to watch you play. Go play to the greatest of your ability—and some of the greatest compliments I’ve ever been given are from Bill Walton.”

Mayer also noted Walton’s impressive presence in the crowd at Dead & Co. shows and described him as an “antenna” who radiates an infectious energy that can be felt throughout the venue.

It’s Bill Walton’s world and the rest of us are just living in it.

Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.