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Bill Walton: NBA Hall of Famer and broadcaster dies at 71

Written by on May 28, 2024

Bill Walton, a National Basketball Association (NBA) Hall of Famer and one of the sport’s biggest broadcasters, has died at age 71.

Walton died after a long battle with cancer, the league announced on Monday.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver remembered him as “truly one of a kind”.

Walton was known for his legendary college basketball career in California – and for overcoming a stutter to build a successful broadcasting career.

At 6-foot-11, he played centre for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)’s basketball team from 1971 to 1974.

It was with that team he led the Bruins to two championship wins and an 88-game winning streak.

He was then selected as the No1 overall draft pick in 1974 by the Portland Trail Blazers, kickstarting his professional career in the NBA.

Walton led the Blazers to a championship win in 1977 – their first and only title – and won the coveted Most Valuable Player award that season.

Nine years later, he won his second NBA championship, this time with the Boston Celtics.

In a statement on Monday, NBA commissioner Mr Silver said Walton was known in the league for his “unique all-around skills”.

“As a Hall of Fame player, he redefined the centre position,” added Mr Silver.

Walton’s professional career lasted only 468 games and was cut short due chronic foot injuries.

But his basketball journey did not end there.

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