NBA Legend Bill Walton Passed Away At 71 Because of Cancer

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 20: Bill Walton attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns at Arena on April 20, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Hall of Famer and NBA legend Bill Walton passed away at 71 years old after battling cancer for years. Walton is one of basketball’s most colorful and wacky characters but is also one of its biggest winners.

Walton’s rise to basketball fame began when he played for the legendary John Wooden at UCLA. Over three years, the “Big Redhead” lost only four games (86-4), won two national titles, and was named College Player of the Year three times.

The big man then became the No. 1 overall pick in 1974 after the Portland Trail Blazers took him in the draft. He won the franchise’s only NBA title to date in 1977. Walton averaged 18 points, 19 rebounds, five assists, and almost four blocks in six Finals games.

After this measure of success, Walton dealt with chronic foot injuries that severely limited his ascent to superstardom. He missed two full campaigns because of these issues and played only 169 games out of a possible 492 over six seasons.

However, he found a new lease on his basketball life with the Boston Celtics. He helped the storied franchise win a title in 1986 as the team’s sixth man. Walton also played a career-best 80 games that year for the Green and White.

After his playing career, Walton was still around basketball as an announcer and a color commentator. Fans know him for his quirky style and odd sense of humor, often comments on things that were not part of the game. Nevertheless, that’s what endeared Walton to sports fans and what made him such a unique personality.

Walton was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1993 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. He is the only player in history to win an MVP, Finals MVP, and Sixth Man of the Year.

Categories NBA