Hall of Fame basketball legend Bill Walton dies at 71

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 05: Two-time NBA Champion and Hall of Famer Bill Walton has died of cancer at the age of 71.  Former UCLA running back Bill Walton shows off his two CFP Championship teams, TCU and Georgia, looking at black posters as the UCLA Bruins defeat the USC Trojans 60-58 during an NCAA men's basketball game at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles on Thursday, January 5, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

Two-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer Bill Walton has died of cancer at the age of 71. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

The basketball world has lost one of its most colorful personalities. Hall of Fame basketball legend Bill Walton He died at the age of 71After suffering from cancer in recent years, the NBA announced Monday.

Walton was born on November 5, 1952 in La Mesa, California, east of San Diego, and had a noted college career in… University of California Under the leadership of famous coach John Wooden. During his career at Westwood, the 6-foot-11 center won two national championships (in 1972-73) and three national college player of the year awards, and was a three-time All-American. His teams lost just four games in his three seasons as a college player, going 86-4 overall.

His success continued in the NBA. The No. 1 overall pick in the 1974 NBA Draft by Portland Trail BlazersHe won the NBA championship in 1977 and the Most Valuable Player Award (averaging 18.9 points and 13.2 rebounds) in 1978. But he struggled with chronic foot injuries that limited him to 209 games (of a possible 328) played in four seasons.

After missing the entire 1978–79 season to protest the treatment of his and his teammates’ injuries, Walton signed with the… San Diego Clippers As a free agent. However, he made just 169 appearances over six seasons, missing two full seasons due to foot injuries.

In 1985, Walton was traded to Boston Celtics. He played 80 games during the 1985-1986 season and won another NBA championship as the sixth man for a team that included Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Walton played only 10 matches the following season and retired after injuries prevented him from playing in the 1986–87 season.

He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Generations of basketball fans probably know Walton best as an eccentric basketball broadcaster. During the first 20 years of his broadcasting career, he called college and NBA games for CBS, NBC, Clippers and ESPN/ABC.

But after a three-year absence while recovering from back surgery (alleviating injuries that plagued his playing career), Walton returned as a full-time analyst for ESPN. He also called NBA games on NBC with Greg Gumbel and Steve “Snapper” Jones.

Often, Walton would walk on tangents unrelated to the action in court—occasionally citing recreational drug use, bizarre trivia, his love of the Grateful Dead and his political beliefs—and became a hugely popular color commentator. Play-by-play partners, including Dave Bash and Jason Benetti, often had to maintain a deadpan sense of humor knowing that Walton could go anywhere with his storytelling and analysis.

In 2009, Walton was selected as one of The 50 Best Sports Broadcasters of All Time By the American Sports Broadcasters Association.

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