Legendary NBA Star Bill Walton Dies at 71

Bill Walton, a legendary redhead in basketball, passed away this week at 71.

After battling cancer for a long time, the former player who was key to championship teams in Boston and Portland died on Monday.

From Court to Commentary:

Walton’s legend only grew after his playing days. He won two Emmys as a basketball analyst despite overcoming a severe stutter that troubled him for 28 years.

“There will never be another quite like Bill Walton.
His ESPN family will miss him dearly https://t.co/mvS0Sh5iWZ” — ESPN (@espn) May 27, 2024

“I just wish that I had learned how to speak at a lot earlier age,” Bill shared last year. “Nothing has changed my life more than learning how to speak. It’s my greatest accomplishment, and your worst nightmare. I identify with everyone who faces struggles, challenges.”

Embracing His Struggles:

Walton believed accepting oneself is crucial. “And when you’re a stutterer, it completely changes your life. Because you’re constantly embarrassed and reluctant and ashamed. And you have to learn to overcome it. I am no longer ashamed about being a stutterer. I’m no longer self-conscious about being a stutterer. I am a stutterer,” he said.

A Unique Personality:

In his later years, Walton became known for his eccentric lifestyle and love of music like the Grateful Dead and tie-dyed shirts.

“Bill and I had a special friendship,” said Dave Pasch on ESPN this Monday. “He used to tell me during commercial breaks, ‘I love you, but don’t tell anybody.’”

He added: “He enjoyed having me as his sparring partner on air. Off air, we were great friends too; Bill always paid for meals.”

We all need friends like that!

The Team Player:

Despite numerous injuries throughout his career, Walton always credited his teammates for making him better.

“My teammates … made me much better than I could ever become myself,” he said during his Hall of Fame speech.

Here’s the link if you want to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdK1AQrriQs

The MVP of the 1977/78 season struggled with foot injuries throughout his career but still left an indelible mark on basketball history.

Current UCLA coach Mick Cronin emphasized Walton’s importance: “It’s very hard to put into words what he has meant to UCLA’s program… Beyond his remarkable accomplishments as a player… It’s hard to imagine Pauley Pavilion without him.”

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

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