Two-time NBA champion and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton passed away today at the age of 71 following a prolonged battle with cancer. His family surrounded him.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement:

“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. 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."


The 6-foot-11 Walton, enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993, was larger than life on the court, off the court, and during his broadcasting career.

His NBA career -- disrupted by chronic foot injuries -- lasted only 468 games with the Portland Trail Blazers, LA (and formerly San Diego) Clippers, and Boston Celtics.

Walton retired from the NBA and turned to broadcasting, something he never thought he could be good at -- and an avenue he sometimes wasn't sure would be possible for him -- because he had a pronounced stutter at times. Turns out, he was excellent at that, too: Walton was an Emmy winner.


Walton originally joined ESPN and ABC in 2002 as a lead analyst for NBA games before shifting to college basketball in 2012. He also worked for CBS and NBC and was named one of the top 50 sports broadcasters of all time by the American Sportscasters Association in 2009.

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