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2-time NBA All-Star, legendary broadcaster Bill Walton dead at 71

Walton won NBA titles in 1977 and 1986 and was a league All-Star in 1977 and 1978.
NBA All-Star Game Basketball
Posted at 11:40 AM, May 27, 2024

Bill Walton, a two-time NBA champion and two-time league All-Star before becoming one of the league's most prominent voices on TV, died at age 71 after a prolonged battle with cancer, the NBA announced Monday.

Walton won an NBA title in 1977 as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. He capped off his career with a title with the Boston Celtics in 1986.

He was a league All-Star back-to-back years in 1977 and 1978.

Before entering the NBA, he won consecutive titles in 1972 and 1973 with the UCLA Bruins. He later had his number retired by UCLA. Walton was also a member of the U.S. Olympic basketball team, which controversially lost to the Soviet Union, costing the U.S. a chance at the gold medal.

Following his playing career, he joined CBS, and later NBC and ABC/ESPN, to broadcast college and NBA games. He was also enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement reacting to Walton's passing.

"Bill Walton was truly one of a kind. As a Hall of Fame player, he redefined the center position. His unique all-around skills made him a dominant force at UCLA and led to an NBA regular-season and Finals MVP, two NBA championships and a spot on the NBA's 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams," Silver said. "Bill then translated his infectious enthusiasm and love for the game to broadcasting, where he delivered insightful and colorful commentary which entertained generations of basketball fans. But what I will remember most about him was his zest for life. He was a regular presence at league events — always upbeat, smiling ear to ear and looking to share his wisdom and warmth. I treasured our close friendship, envied his boundless energy and admired the time he took with every person he encountered.

"As a cherished member of the NBA family for 50 years, Bill will be deeply missed by all those who came to know and love him. My heartfelt condolences to Bill's wife, Lori; his sons, Adam, Nate, Luke and Chris; and his many friends and colleagues."