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Bill Walton, NBA Legend and Hall of Famer, Dead at 71

Extremely sad news today out of the sports world:

Bill Walton — a multiple-time NBA champion, beloved broadcaster and member of the basketball Hall of Fame — has died from cancer.

He was 71 years old.

Bill Walton in Austin
Bill Walton attends the “The Luckiest Guy in the World” world premiere during 2023 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center on March 15, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW)

“Bill Walton was truly one of a kind,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement on Monday.

“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.”

Walton won a pair of national titles in college and was the first overall draft pick (by the Portland Trail Blazers) in 1974.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 08: Sportscaster and former NBA player Bill Walton poses before broadcasting a first-round game of the Pac-12 basketball tournament between the Oregon State Beavers and the Arizona State Sun Devils at T-Mobile Arena on March 08, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

He led this team to the 1977 NBA championship, earning the Finals MVP along the way.

Walton suffered from major foot and back injuries that cost him three full seasons in his prime, yet he played a pivotal role for the Boston Celtics when they won the championship in 1986.

Over the course of his spectacular career, Walton was a two-time NBA champion… two-time All-Star… two-time All-NBA performer… two-time All-Defensive selection… the 1985-86 Sixth Man of the Year … and was also named one of the NBA’s 75 greatest players.

After her retired, Walton became one of the most popular NBA and college announcers of his era.

Bill Walton waves to fans in the crowd in the second quarter against the Golden State Warriors during Game Four of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden on June 10, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Added Silver in his statement on Memorial Day:

“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.”

May Bill Walton rest in peace.

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