Bill Walton, NBA Hall Of Famer And Sportscaster, Dead At 71

NBA legend and broadcaster Bill Walton has died of cancer at age 71. NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the news in a statement, telling ESPN that Walton died on May 27, 2024 surrounded by his family. 

He said, "Bill Walton was truly one of a kind. As a Hall of Fame player, he redefined the center position. His unique all-around skills made him a dominant force at UCLA and led to an NBA regular-season and Finals MVP, two NBA championships and a spot on the NBA's 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams." He continued, "Bill then translated his infectious enthusiasm and love for the game to broadcasting, where he delivered insightful and colorful commentary which entertained generations of basketball fans."

Walton had a tremendous athletic career that truly took off during his college years at UCLA. He later became first pick in the 1974 NBA draft's first round, where he was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers. He went on to play for the then-San Diego Clippers before ending his career with the Boston Celtics in the 1986-1987 season — but not before winning the NBA title in 1986. After retiring, Walton didn't slow down. He became a broadcaster in the sport and was known in the basketball world as a legend and will continue to be known as a legend even after his passing.

Tributes pour in for Bill Walton

Bill Walton made an indelible mark on the NBA both on and off the court and it showed in the many tributes that poured in after the news of his death broke. Adam Silver, who announced the news of Walton's passing, didn't just share details of Walton's accomplishments on the court, but also who he was as an individual. In his statement, Silver said, "What I will remember most about him was his zest for life... I treasured our close friendship, envied his boundless energy and admired the time he took with every person he encountered." 

Julius Erving, better known to basketball fans as Dr. J, played in the NBA at the same time as Walton. He shared a post honoring his late friend, tweeting, "I am sad today hearing that my comrade & one of the sports worlds most beloved champions & characters has passed. Bill Walton enjoyed life in every way. To compete against him & to work with him was a blessing in my life. Sorry for your loss Walton family. We'll miss him too." 

Even people outside the basketball world were impacted by Walton's death. Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez posted a touching tribute to the basketball star. He said, "RIP Bill Walton. No one loved basketball or living life to its fullest more than Bill. Not only has the sport lost a giant; the whole world has as well." The tributes for Walton are proof positive that Walton will forever be remembered as one of the greats.