Pearl Jam Get Emotional After NBA Legend Dies

Photo credit: Quinn Tucker

Pearl Jam recently paid a touching tribute to late NBA legend Bill Walton, who passed away earlier this week.

The Hall of Fame title-winning Portland Trail Blazers center Bill Walton passed away on May 27 at the age of 71 in his home in San Diego after a battle with colon cancer. The 6-foot-11 was the best player on Portland’s lone championship squad as he steered his side to the 1977 Larry O’Brien Trophy while netting the Finals MVP award.

Walton’s career with Blazers was tragically cut short by a stress fracture injury that he suffered in his foot late into his 1977-78 season. Walton had earned league MVP honors, despite only playing 58 matches. He averaged 18.9 points on 52.2 percent shooting from the floor, 13.2 rebounds, five assists, 2.5 blocks and one steal a night.

Pearl Jam tribute

Performing at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Pearl Jam debuted ‘Man Of The Hour’ for the first time on their ongoing tour and dedicated the track to Walton. It is noted that frontman Eddie Vedder spoke of Walton as images of the late NBA icon attending a 2023 show in San Diego flashed on screen:

“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. He was a big man with a huge heart and cut a wide path of peace and love behind him.”

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

Check out Eddie Vedder’s speech below:


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Pearl Jam’s tribute to Walton took place after the surviving members of the Grateful Dead paid homage to the late NBA player, who was an avid supporter of the band.

As per USA Today, Walton first witnessed the legendary rock band perform when he was 15 years old in 1967, the same year they released their debut album ‘The Grateful Dead’.

Speaking to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Walton had revealed that he had been to over 800 Grateful Dead gigs in over 48 years.

Meanwhile, Pearl Jam had announced a tour of the UK and Europe back in February, with stops including Manchester’s Co-Op Live on June 25 and London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 29, preceded by Dublin’s Marlay Park on June 22.

Eddie Vedder recently hinted at the end of Pearl Jam as he said that he thinks the band have “one or two” good records left in them after ‘Dark Matter’. “The older you get the better you are at living in the present,” he said. “The understanding you have less time is the biggest number in the quotient. The goal is to keep making music.”