Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle was less than two hours from his team tipping off against the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday night.

But Carlisle had plenty of time to share an incredible story about former Celtics center and Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton.

Carlisle joined those remembering Walton after he died at age 71 on Monday after a long battle with cancer. Carlisle and Walton were teammates with the Celtics for two seasons, including on Boston’s 1985-86 championship squad. The two remained in touch with Walton texting Carlisle throughout the Pacers’ playoff run this season and Carlisle shared some of those text messages with his team prior to Monday’s contest at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Carlisle also recalled a memorable moment with Walton when he met with the media for his pregame press conference as Walton helped his former teammate out of a jam.

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“I have him to thank probably also for being married to my wife Donna,” Carlisle told reporters, per video from WEEI’s Justin Turpin. “Our first date was to a (Grateful) Dead show in Washington, D.C., and I called Bill. I said look, this is 1987, ‘I got a date with a girl that I think is pretty cool. Loved to get to the Dead show at Capital Center. I don’t have any tickets. Can you help?’ And he said, ‘Just go to the back door, ask for Dennis McNally, tell him you’re Rick Carlisle from the Boston Celtics and everything will be just fine.’

“I said, ‘Really?’ He said, ‘Oh, yeah.’ I drove up to the loading dock and Donna was with me. We hadn’t known each other that long. I said, ‘Just wait here a second.’ She was like, ‘What? Do you have tickets?’ I said, ‘Just give me a couple minutes here.'”

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Thankfully for Carlisle, the story didn’t end there as Walton had come through for him in a big way.

“So, I walked down and I knocked on the door. The whole thing ended up working out,” Carlisle said. “I walked back up the loading dock ramp with two all-access laments: one said Bill Walton and one said Susie Walton. So, we were set up for the show, and we were actually on stage watching the show. And during the break, we kind of just wandered into the back and just opened up a door and ended up sitting down with Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart for 15 minutes just shooting the (expletive). It was an unbelievable night. Obviously, it was a good first date.”

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Carlisle certainly was thankful for Walton helping him out. And as he reflected on Walton, Carlisle saw Walton’s uniqueness aid him in making the most out of his life on and off the court.

“To me, he was a living, breathing event in history just walking around,” Carlisle said. “He was involved in so many events, pop culture and sports. He played drums for the Grateful Dead in the pyramids in Egypt. He’s a guy that did everything. … He definitely competed for every moment in life to be the greatest it could possibly be. That’s the best way to describe it. I talked to (his son) Luke today for a few minutes. They’re doing OK. This has been tough obviously and it will continue to be tough. But what an amazing man. There will never be another.”

Featured image via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images