Watch Pearl Jam Dedicate ‘Man of the Hour’ to Bill Walton

Pearl Jam honored Bill Walton during their show at Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, dedicating their song “Man of the Hour” to the NBA Hall of Famer who died earlier this week. The band later posted a video clip of frontman Eddie Vedder speaking about Walton with the caption, “Goddamnit Bill, we miss you already.”

“We woke up yesterday to the sad news that somebody that we had met a number of times and every time we saw him it made such a huge impression,” Vedder told the audience on Tuesday night. “He was a big man with a huge heart and cut a wide path of peace and love behind him.”

He added, “I just want to state our love for you in public. Thanks for all of the good energy. Wish us luck down here. I know you’re fine.”

Walton died at 71 from cancer. His death was announced by the National Basketball Association, who released a statement from commission Adam Silver calling Walton “truly one of a kind… He redefined the center position.”

As a player, he won two NBA championships, as well as both a regular-season and Finals MVP. Walton’s love for music made him a recognizable and beloved figure at classic rock shows, and he was known to occasionally pepper college basketball broadcasts with minutes-long monologues about Bob Dylan. 

The surviving members of Walton’s favorite band, the Grateful Dead, paid tribute to him on social media. Dead & Company wrote, “Bill was an irreplaceable force and spirit in our family. Father Time, Rhythm Devil, biggest deadhead ever. Over 1,000 shows and couldn’t get enough. He loved this band and we loved him.”


Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann wrote their own heartfelt statements. “Yo Bill, thanks for the ride,” wrote Weir, posting photos with the athlete. “Thanks for the wonderful friendship, the years of color commentary — and the Hall of Fame existence that you wore like headlights.” 

Both drummers wrote lengthy tributes, with Hart describing Walton as “the best friend I ever had,” paired with a photo of the duo laughing together. “He called himself the luckiest man in the world but it was us who were lucky — to know him, to share the adventure with him,” he said. “He was the biggest Deadhead in the world and used our music as the soundtrack to his life. After our shows, he would regularly send messages that said, ‘Thank you for my life.’”

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