NBA Star Bill Walton Passes Away At Age 71

Image Source: Bill Walton @ Instagram

The basketball world mourns the loss of Bill Walton, the celebrated center who guided the Portland Trail Blazers to victory in the 1977 NBA Championship. Walton has succumbed to cancer at age 71.

Under the tutelage of John Wooden at UCLA, Walton established himself as a star and earned a place in the NBA Hall of Fame despite his career being hampered by persistent foot injuries. He played a pivotal role in leading his underdog Blazers team to a win against the favored Philadelphia 76ers during the 1977 Finals. Later, after overcoming his injuries, Walton contributed significantly as a sixth man to the Boston Celtics’ success in the 1986 Finals, guided by Larry Bird.

Walton’s exuberance carried over into his television career, where he became a well-loved commentator for NBA and college basketball games, infusing broadcasts with his vibrant personality.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver honored Walton, saying, “Bill Walton stood apart as a revolutionary figure in basketball. His versatile skill set transformed the role of a center. His exceptional talent shone at UCLA, resulting in an NBA regular-season and Finals MVP titles, two NBA championships, and placement on the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams. As a broadcaster, Bill’s passionate and descriptive analysis captivated countless basketball enthusiasts. Yet, it’s his vivacious approach to life that I’ll remember most. He was a frequent, spirited participant in NBA happenings, always positive, greeting everyone with a bright smile and eager to impart his knowledge and kindness. His boundless vigor, commitment to community, and the sheer joy he took in every interaction were truly inspirational. As a dear companion, Bill’s absence will be felt profoundly by all those fortunate enough to have met and adored him. My deepest sympathies are with his wife, Lori; his sons, Adam, Nate, Luke, and Chris; and his extensive circle of friends and peers.”

Bill’s son, Luke Walton, not only played in the NBA but also led both the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings as head coach. In the most recent season, Luke served as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Most Popular

To Top