Bottle Boy surprised Bill at his April 12th book signing at Barnes & Noble in Boston, MA
Bill Walton is Clean Bottles biggest fan; yes we are talking about the 7ft NBA Hall Of Fame Center and 2-time NBA Champion, Bill Walton. Bill has lived an extraordinary life which is documented in his autobiography "Back from the Dead", detailing all the ups and downs he has endured. The book is now available and below is an excerpt Bill sent us about his adventure as Bottle Boy that didn't quite make the final cut in his book. Be sure to get yourself a copy here!
"At the top of the list of the wonderful things that I get to do, are the people that I meet when I do go somewhere. I was back doing some games on television. It was with the Sacramento Kings. It was lots of fun---as long as you didn’t care who won or about the quality of play. I was happy if the players did not go, at the end of the game, into the stands and beat up the fans. It was still before the game, and I was on the court in Oakland, for a Warriors-Kings game of the millennium, working the players, coaches, staffs and media people for story lines, nuggets of information, and anything else that might come into the smoking crater. You just never know how the game of life, or a live television show, is going to play out. The players and coaches had just left the floor, retreating to their locker rooms for the final pre-game preparations—the moment before the moment of truth. I was standing by the Warriors bench, pondering life, and my next move. A young, adult man called my name. He walked up to me, courtside, and asked for a moment of my time. Why not? You never know. The game was yet to start. He asked me if I had ever heard of the “Clean Bottle Boy?” I fell out. Everybody in my world knows the legendary “Clean Bottle Boy.” The guy said his name was Dave Mayer, and that he was the “Clean Bottle Boy.” Dave had gone to Stanford. He was an elite cyclist and an Ironman Triathlete. He worked early on at Cisco and Goldman Sachs. It wasn’t for him. He quit his job, and chased his dream. As an athlete, he was always putting the nourishing and replenishing powders into his drink bottles, like the rest of us. At the end of the day, he could not get his bottles clean, like the rest of us. So he invented the bottle that opens at both ends for easy cleaning. Two lids, one dream. And he called it the CLEAN BOTTLE. He had no money for marketing or advertising, so he went to the Tour de France one summer to try to scratch and claw his way into the world’s consciousness. He developed a costume of one of his products---THE CLEAN BOTTLE. He ran up and down the race-course trying to draw attention to himself. It was very slow going. He talked his way into the television compound and got in front of the lead producer. Dave laid it all out to the producer, who shooed him away. “Get out of here, kid. You’re just a punk guerilla marketer, stealing from our high-paying sponsors and advertisers.” Dave got thrown out. As he was leaving the media compound, crestfallen and dispirited, Phil Liggitt was on his way in to work. Phil is the Chick Hearn of cycling, and as fine a man as you’ll ever know, or learn from. Phil sees this young, good-looking guy who looks just awful, and who is now really depressed. Phil asked Dave, who he had no idea who he was or what he was about, “Why do you look so sad? It’s a beautiful day, we’re in France, and today is all about our bicycles.” Dave told Phil his story, and how he had just had his dreams crushed and had been thrown out of the place. Phil, like everybody else who has ever met Dave Mayer, immediately fell in love with him. After that chance meeting with Phil, the TV people would show, every day on the broadcast, “The Clean Bottle Boy” running up and down the Alps, and Phil would talk about this fabulous young guy, “The Clean Bottle Boy” and how “The Clean Bottle Boy” had this terrific and much needed new product. “The Clean Bottle Boy” became a legend himself. And now everybody knew him. And now, through this simple twist of fate, I know him. Later on, Dave called me up. He had earned a shot on SHARK TANK, where he would have his chance to pitch his products, his company and himself on TV. He asked me if I would help him, and wear his costume---modified for my size. LET’S GO !!! I became “The Clean Bottle Boy.” It is my highest calling. We did it. And SHARK TANK led off their new season with THE CLEAN BOTTLE BOY. It became their highest rated show ever. They replay it on a regular basis. Dave nailed it. He was perfect. He was so prepared. He watched every episode. He learned everything that he could about all the vultures who he would be pitching. He read all their books and articles. He made giant spread-sheets of ways that the conversation and confrontation might go. He took the whole concept of anticipation and being ready to new heights. Dave made Coach Wooden and Jack Ramsay look like slackers. Dave was ready. And he did it. We walked out onto the stage together---me in my full CLEAN BOTTLE costume that covered every inch of my body. As Dave was presenting, the vultures kept looking at me in my costume, and they finally cut Dave off by asking him, “what’s up with the guy in the giant costume?” Dave said, “Oh, that’s just a friend of mine.” And then he asked me to take my costume’s head off—my lid. Mark Cuban, the lead shark, fell over in his chair. He could not believe it. Everybody had a good laugh, as Mark took over from there and became Dave’s new partner. Dave got everything that he wanted out of SHARK TANK---epitomizing the notion that you must use your stage, platform and vehicle to get what you want; and not let them use you. It was awe-inspiring. Dave had his dad there with him---for advice and support. We filmed the show in West L.A. Afterwards, we all went to dinner. Our son, Nate, also a Stanford man, and always chasing his own dreams, came too. The whole thing was fantastic. And I had a whole new career---as a prop. Dave Mayer is my hero. Not too long after SHARK TANK, I was on a long, solo bike ride—from the Oregon border, down the Northern California coast. Lori was my support and SAG. She would meet me at the next hotel at night. I was rolling along, just south of Klamath, the capital of the Native Salmon Nation, and where the redwoods and the river meet the Pacific Ocean. I had just passed the giant statues of Babe the Blue Ox, and the Golden Bears on the big river bridge. I was drifting and dreaming about Australia, as I started the next long hard climb, knowing that just ahead was the Redwood Highway, Prairie Creek Redwood State Park, and a whole new wonderland. And I was here on my bike. As I came around a big curve, and the pavement was starting to stand up in front of me, I was in the zone, just having the time of my life. It was all better than perfect. It was everything that I love about these long solo rides, particularly about being beyond the edge of nowhere. And there on the side of the road was THE CLEAN BOTTLE BOY, in full costume, and running up and down the slopes of the Redwood Highway, urging me on—ever higher and faster. He had made, and was waving, a hand painted sign. It read, THROW IT DOWN. Dave had driven more than nine hours to come and surprise me on the long hard climb. After I passed him on the side of the road, “The Clean Bottle Boy” hurriedly stripped down, jumped on his own bike, immediately caught me, and we rode together for the next couple of days down the glorious coast of California. I am the luckiest guy on earth. You just never know how these games are going to play out. Today, CLEAN BOTTLE is one of the great success stories of our time, and my life. And I live by the CLEAN BOTTLE motto that “Champions ride clean. Losers ride dirty.”