Bill Walton: From Court to Commentary Legend

Bill Walton, a two-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer, passed away at 71. Despite an injury-riddled basketball career, Walton became a vibrant broadcaster known for his philosophical insights. His legacy includes a college stardom, multiple NBA titles, and an enduring zest for life.

Reuters | Updated: 28-05-2024 00:02 IST | Created: 28-05-2024 00:02 IST
Bill Walton: From Court to Commentary Legend

Bill Walton, a two-time NBA champion and member of the basketball Hall of Fame, whose brilliant but injury-riddled career led to a second act as a free-spirited broadcaster who waxed philosophical on the air, died on Monday at the age of 71, the National Basketball Association announced. Walton, who had a prolonged battle with cancer, was surrounded by his family when he died, the National Basketball Association said.

"Bill Walton was truly one of a kind," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that recalled his many accomplishments on the court and his "insightful and colorful commentary" as a broadcaster. "But what I will remember most about him was his zest for life." Walton, a 6-foot-11 (211-cm) center who moved gracefully despite his height, rose to stardom in college where he was part of the University of California, Los Angeles, dynasty under Coach John Wooden, winning National Collegiate Athletic Association championships in 1972 and 1973.

He established himself as a force early in his professional career, leading the Portland Trail Blazers to the championship in the 1976-77 season, and he was named Most Valuable Player the following year. But with brittle bones in his feet, Walton missed three of the next four seasons, mostly as a member of the San Diego Clippers, and later came back as a bench player for the Boston Celtics, helping them win the NBA championship in 1985-86.

Multiple injuries, including from a bicycle accident, continued to afflict him after his playing days, interrupting his career as a whimsical broadcaster who could intersperse criticism of the officiating of a game with riffs on human consciousness. He was also known as an avid fan of the Grateful Dead, going on the road with the psychedelic band, often wearing a tie-dye T-shirt common with the group's fan base.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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