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Invoice Walton, NBA champion and beloved broadcaster, dies aged 71

Tributes pour in for Walton, a two-time NBA champion and basketball Hall of Famer remembered as ‘truly one of a kind’. Bill Walton, a two-time National Basketball Association (NBA) champion, Hall of Fame player and beloved broadcaster, has died at the age of 71, the league says. The NBA said Walton passed away on Monday

Invoice Walton, NBA champion and beloved broadcaster, dies aged 71

Tributes pour in for Walton, a two-time NBA champion and basketball Corridor of Famer remembered as ‘really certainly one of a sort’.

Invoice Walton, a two-time Nationwide Basketball Affiliation (NBA) champion, Corridor of Fame participant and beloved broadcaster, has died on the age of 71, the league says.

The NBA mentioned Walton handed away on Monday after a chronic battle with most cancers.

“Invoice Walton was really certainly one of a sort,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver mentioned in a press release.

Walton, a 6-foot-11 (211cm) centre who moved gracefully regardless of his peak, rose to stardom in school the place he was a part of the College of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), dynasty beneath coach John Wood.

He received Nationwide Collegiate Athletics Affiliation (NCAA) championships in 1972 and 1973 earlier than establishing himself as a power early in his skilled profession.

Walton led the Portland Path Blazers to the championship in 1977, and he was named the NBA’s Most Helpful Participant the next 12 months.

Bill Walton moves towards the basket in a 1978 NBA game
The Denver Nuggets’ Dan Issel, left, guards Portland Path Blazers’ Invoice Walton as Walton strikes in direction of the basket throughout a sport in 1978 [File: Jack Smith/AP Photo]

His most well-known efficiency was the 1973 NCAA title sport – UCLA in opposition to Memphis – wherein he shot an unimaginable 21-for-22 from the sphere and led the Bruins to a different nationwide championship.

However Walton’s NBA profession – disrupted by power foot accidents – lasted solely 468 video games with Portland, then San Diego and ultimately the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Boston Celtics.

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He averaged 13.3 factors and 10.5 rebounds in these video games, neither of these numbers precisely record-setting. Nonetheless, his affect on the sport was large.

“As a Corridor of Fame participant, he redefined the centre place. His distinctive all-around expertise made him a dominant power at UCLA and led to an NBA regular-season and Finals MVP, two NBA championships and a spot on the NBA’s fiftieth and seventy fifth Anniversary Groups,” Silver mentioned on Monday.

When Walton retired from the NBA, he turned to broadcasting, one thing he by no means thought he might be good at or could be potential for him as a result of he had a pronounced stutter at occasions in his life.

However he excelled, profitable an Emmy award and ultimately being named one of many prime 50 sports activities broadcasters of all time by the American Sportscasters Affiliation.

Relaxation in peace to a good friend, 2X NBA Champion, Corridor of Famer, and one of the vital expert facilities we’ve ever seen Invoice Walton! His NCAA Championship efficiency as a UCLA Bruin in opposition to Memphis is by far essentially the most dominate NCAA Championship efficiency ever – he shot 21 for 22 and had…

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 27, 2024

And Walton, who was enshrined within the Corridor of Fame in 1993, was bigger than life, each on and off the courtroom.

He “delivered insightful and vibrant commentary which entertained generations of basketball followers”, Silver mentioned on Monday. “However what I’ll keep in mind most about him was his zest for all times.

“He was an everyday presence at league occasions – at all times upbeat, smiling ear to ear and trying to share his knowledge and heat.”

Tributes additionally rolled in for Walton from a number of the greatest names in basketball, together with Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who described Walton as “one of the vital expert facilities we’ve ever seen”.

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“They discuss [Denver Nuggets star Nikola] Jokic being the most skilled center however Invoice Walton was first! From taking pictures soar pictures to creating unimaginable passes, he was one of many smartest basketball gamers to ever stay,” Johnson wrote on X.

“Invoice was an ideal ambassador for faculty basketball and the NBA, and he will probably be sorely missed.”

Julius “Dr J” Erving additionally paid tribute to Walton and supplied condolences to his household.

“Invoice Walton loved life in each approach. To compete in opposition to him & to work with him was a blessing in my life,” Erving mentioned in a social media submit.

I’m unhappy right this moment listening to that my comrade & one of many sports activities worlds most beloved champions & characters has handed. Invoice Walton loved life in each approach. To compete in opposition to him & to work with him was a blessing in my life. Sorry to your loss Walton household. We’ll miss him too. Doc pic.twitter.com/GAEt1DRH8N

— Julius Dr J Erving (@JuliusErving) May 27, 2024

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