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Broadcasting & Cable
Broadcasting & Cable
Daniel Frankel

Bill Walton, Legendary NBA Player and Broadcaster, Dead at 71

Bill Walton.

NBA hall of fame player and iconic broadcaster Bill Walton has died at the age of 71 after a years-long battle with cancer, the league announced Monday. 

The La Mesa, California, native, a Naismith Award recipient, won two NCAA men’s basketball championships under coaching legend John Wooden in the early 1970s and was the core of a UCLA team that won an astounding 88 consecutive games. 

As a versatile, athletic big man with impeccable court vision and IQ, the redheaded seven-footer took his talents to Portland and the NBA, leading the Trail Blazers to their first and only NBA championship in 1977. 

The self-professed hippie battled devastating foot injuries that sidelined him for years, but made it all the way back to become a pivotal part of the Larry Bird-led 1980s Boston Celtics dynasty, helping the ’86 Celtics to a dominating NBA finals victory. 

But it was in the broadcast booth where the notoriously kind, outwardly generous, perpetually quirky Walton carved out yet another enduring legacy, providing insightful color for both college and NBA games throughout the last three decades. 

“What I will remember most about him was his zest for life,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in his statement. “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.”

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