NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton Dead at 71

BIll Walton

Bill Walton, the NBA Hall of Famer who won multiple championships and MVP awards, has died. He was 71 years old.

Walton reportedly passed away while with his family after a long battle with cancer, with the NBA sharing the sad news on the family's behalf.

"Bill Walton was truly one of a kind,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. "What I will remember most about him was his zest for life."

Silver continued, "He was a regular presence at league events – always upbeat, smiling ear to ear and looking to share his wisdom and warmth. I treasured our close friendship, envied his boundless energy and admired the time he took with every person he encountered."

Along with his successful professional career, Walton had a prolific time playing for UCLA. Mick Cronin, the current head coach of UCLA's men's basketball team, paid tribute to Walton.

After noting the late player's "tremendous impact on college basketball," Cronin wrote, "Beyond his remarkable accomplishments as a player, it's his relentless energy, enthusiasm for the game and unwavering candor that have been the hallmarks of his larger than life personality."

"He was honest, kind, and always had his heart in the right place. I will miss him very much," the UCLA coach concluded.

Many more basketball players—current and former—and other figures in the sports world, as well as other people affected by Walton's life, shared condolences and messages about his impact in the wake of his death.

Walton played basketball since he was a kid, and after his hard work paid off while playing for his high school team, he attended UCLA on a scholarship. During his time with the Bruins, Walton led the team to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1972 and 1973. At one point, he reportedly had a 98-game winning streak.

The talented player was the first overall pick of the 1974 NBA Draft, beginning what would become a legendary professional career, winning multiple titles and awards. After retiring, Walton transitioned to a career in broadcasting and was known for his bright personality.

Walton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993, and he was one of the original members of the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984.

He is survived by his wife Lori and his four sons, Adam, Nathan, Luke, and Chris, whom he shares with his first wife, Susie.

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