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Invoice Walton Dies at 71; Basketball HOFer Received 2 NBA Titles, 2 NCAA Championships

Scott Polacek @@ScottPolacek Featured Columnist IV May 27, 2024 David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images NBA legend and Hall of Famer Bill Walton died Monday at 71 years old. The NBA announced his death and noted he was “surrounded by family” after “a prolonged battle with cancer.” NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement that said

Scott Polacek @@ScottPolacek Featured Columnist IV May 27, 2024 David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images NBA legend and Hall of Famer Bill Walton died Monday at 71 years old. The NBA announced his death and noted he was "surrounded by family" after "a prolonged battle with cancer." NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement that said

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekX.com LogoFeatured Columnist IVCould 27, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 17: Bill Walton as a part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, February 17, 2024 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2024 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

David Dow/NBAE through Getty Pictures

NBA legend and Corridor of Famer Invoice Walton died Monday at 71 years previous.

The NBA announced his loss of life and famous he was “surrounded by household” after “a protracted battle with most cancers.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver launched an announcement that mentioned, partially, “Invoice Walton was actually certainly one of a form … What I’ll bear in mind most about him was his zest for all times. He was a daily presence at league occasions—at all times upbeat, smiling ear to ear and trying to share his knowledge and heat. I treasured our shut friendship, envied his boundless vitality and admired the time he took with each particular person he encountered.”

Earlier than he was a champion on the NBA degree, Walton was among the best males’s faculty basketball gamers within the sport’s historical past.

He attended powerhouse UCLA and performed three seasons from 1971 to 1974 whereas constructing a resume that included two nationwide championships, three Naismith Awards, two Related Press Participant of the 12 months awards and three consensus All-American alternatives.

UCLA Males’s Basketball @UCLAMBB

UCLA mourns the passing of two-time NCAA champion Invoice Walton, a Naismith Corridor of Fame inductee (1993) and constitution member of the @UCLAAthletics Corridor of Fame (1984).

𝑰𝑵 𝑴𝑬𝑴𝑶𝑹𝑰𝑨𝑴: https://t.co/VwZwd9uVDs pic.twitter.com/6GrCWvplK7

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Walton was a transcendent collegiate star, and the Portland Path Blazers jumped on the likelihood to pick him with the No. 1 general choose of the 1974 NBA draft.

It’s laborious to script a greater begin to a profession than the one Walton loved, as he led the Path Blazers to their solely championship in franchise historical past in simply his third season. As if that wasn’t sufficient, he was the league MVP in his fourth 12 months after finishing second in voting in that third season.

Walton led the league in rebounding and blocks throughout that championship season in 1976-77 after which received NBA Finals MVP whereas averaging 18.5 factors, 19.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 3.7 blocks and 1.0 steals per sport within the victory over Julius Erving’s Philadelphia 76ers.

He appeared nicely on his approach to a protracted and legendary profession, however foot accidents undercut a lot of his peak following that unbelievable run in Portland.

Consequently, he missed the 1978-79, 1980-81 and 1981-82 seasons whereas taking part in simply 14 video games in 1979-80 and 33 video games in 1982-83 for the San Diego Clippers.

To Walton’s credit score, he carved out a second act of his NBA profession as a bench presence for the Boston Celtics. He took house the Sixth Man of the 12 months in 1985-86 for a Celtics group that received the championship and is basically remembered as among the best in NBA historical past.

He performed simply 10 video games after that season however was nonetheless elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame in 1993 and named a member of the NBA’s seventy fifth Anniversary Workforce following his profession.

Portland Path Blazers @trailblazers

Rip Metropolis icon & basketball legend.

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Relaxation in Peace, Invoice 🕊️ pic.twitter.com/czZ4IiX6m2

LA Clippers @LAClippers

We’ve got misplaced one of many best gamers and personalities that this franchise, this sport and this area have ever recognized. Invoice Walton is synonymous with Southern California basketball: a San Diego native, a UCLA phenom, a Clipper icon.

He outlined the sport as a participant, a… pic.twitter.com/KAXvnG8Mkk

Boston Celtics @celtics

Invoice Walton was one of the crucial consequential gamers of his period. A Corridor of Famer, Most Beneficial Participant, and two-time NBA Champion, Walton might do all of it, possessing nice timing, full imaginative and prescient of the ground, wonderful fundamentals, and was of one of many best passing huge… pic.twitter.com/AW1PIUxALk

Boston Celtics @celtics

The Boston Celtics rejoice Invoice’s great life and legacy, and ship their deepest sympathies to the Walton household.

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That profession alone would have made him a ceaselessly memorable determine within the basketball world, however he later grew to become one of many voices of the game for a technology that was not sufficiently old to have watched him play.

Walton grew to become an NBA and faculty basketball analyst for NBC, CBS, ABC and ESPN. His eccentric method and catchphrases captured the viewers’s consideration and by no means didn’t amuse even when the video games themselves weren’t thrilling or shut.

ESPN @espn

There’ll by no means be one other fairly like Invoice Walton.

His ESPN household will miss him dearly ❤️ pic.twitter.com/mvS0Sh5iWZ

He received a Sports activities Emmy in 1991 and was named one of many high 50 sports activities broadcasters of all-time by the American Sportscaster Affiliation in 2009.

Some will bear in mind Walton as certainly one of faculty basketball’s finest all-time gamers, some will bear in mind him as a champion and MVP for the Path Blazers, some will bear in mind him for his supporting position on Larry Hen’s Celtics, and others will bear in mind him as a broadcaster who appeared to get pleasure from each second on air.

He’s certainly one of basketball’s most enduring figures, and he’s survived by his spouse and 4 youngsters.

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