Bill Walton, NBA Hall of Fame player and star broadcaster, dies at 71

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Bill Walton, who starred for John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins earlier becoming a Hall of Famer for his NBA profession and 1 of nan biggest stars successful hoops broadcasting, died Monday, nan convention announced connected behalf of his family. Walton, who had a prolonged conflict pinch cancer, was 71.

He was nan NBA’s MVP successful nan 1977-78 season, a two-time champion and a personnel of some nan NBA’s 50th day and 75th day teams. That followed a assemblage profession successful which he was a two-time champion astatine UCLA and a three-time nationalist subordinate of nan year.

“Bill Walton,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, “was genuinely 1 of a kind.”

Walton, who was enshrined successful nan Hall of Fame successful 1993, was larger than life, connected nan tribunal and off. His NBA profession — disrupted by chronic ft injuries — lasted only 468 games pinch Portland, nan San Diego and yet Los Angeles Clippers and Boston. He averaged 13.3 points and 10.5 rebounds successful those games, neither of those numbers precisely record-setting.

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Still, his effect connected nan crippled was massive.

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His astir celebrated crippled was nan 1973 NCAA title game, UCLA against Memphis, successful which he changeable an unthinkable 21 for 22 from nan section and led nan Bruins to different nationalist championship.

“One of my guards said, ‘Let’s effort thing else,” Wooden told The Associated Press successful 2008 for a 35th day retrospective connected that game.

Wooden’s consequence during that timeout: “Why? If it ain’t broke, don’t hole it.”

They kept giving nan shot to Walton, and he kept delivering successful a capacity for nan ages.

“It’s very difficult to put into words what he has meant to UCLA’s program, arsenic good arsenic his tremendous effect connected assemblage basketball,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said Monday. “Beyond his singular accomplishments arsenic a player, it’s his relentless energy, enthusiasm for nan crippled and unwavering candour that person been nan hallmarks of his larger than life personality.

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“As a passionate UCLA alumnus and broadcaster, he loved being astir our players, proceeding their stories and sharing his contented and advice. For maine arsenic a coach, he was honest, benignant and ever had his bosom successful nan correct place. I will miss him very much. It’s difficult to ideate a play successful Pauley Pavilion without him.”

Walton retired from nan NBA and turned to broadcasting, thing he ne'er thought he could beryllium bully astatine — and an avenue he sometimes wondered would beryllium imaginable for him, because he had a pronounced stutter astatine times successful his life.

Turns out, he was fantabulous astatine that, too: Walton was an Emmy winner.

“In life, being truthful self-conscious, reddish hair, large nose, freckles and goofy, nerdy-looking look and can’t talk astatine all. I was incredibly awkward and ne'er said a word,” Walton told The Oregonian newspaper successful 2017. “Then, erstwhile I was 28 I learned really to speak. It’s go my top accomplishment of my life and everybody else’s biggest nightmare.”

The past portion of that was conscionable Walton hyperbole. He was beloved for his on-air tangents.

He sometimes appeared on-air successful Grateful Dead T-shirts; Walton was a immense instrumentality of nan set and referenced it often, moreover sometimes signaling outer power specials celebrating what it meant to beryllium a “Deadhead.”

And nan Pac-12 Conference, which has fundamentally evaporated successful galore ways now because of assemblage realignment, was different of his galore loves. He ever referred to it arsenic nan “Conference of Champions” and loved it each nan measurement to nan end.

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“It doesn’t get immoderate amended than this,” he erstwhile said connected a broadcast, tie-dyed T-shirt on, a Hawaiian lei astir his neck.

“What I will retrieve astir about him was his zest for life,” Silver said. “He was a regular beingness astatine convention events — ever upbeat, smiling receptor to receptor and looking to stock his contented and warmth. I treasured our adjacent friendship, envied his boundless power and admired nan clip he took pinch each personification he encountered.”

Walton died surrounded by his loved ones, his family said. He is survived by woman Lori and sons Adam, Nate, Chris and Luke — a erstwhile NBA subordinate and now a coach.

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