College and Pro Basketball Lose one of the Top Personalities in the history of basketball: We lose a Legend, Bill Walton gone at age 71

He was “THE MAN” in college basketball back in the mid-1970’s, and the image of Bill Walton that will stick out with me forever will be Bill in the red flannel shirt, with his long red beard, and long red hair, and sometimes he would be wearing his headband…And that would be Bill Walton of the college off-season…

In-season, UCLA coach John Wooden made Bill stick to the book…Short hair, no beard or facial hair, and no smoking…John Wooden would put “The Fear of God” into Bill Walton, and Bill would adhere to the ‘Wooden Rules’, as long as he could, during the college hoops season…

Bill Walton won two NCAA/College basketball titles with the UCLA Bruins, but he lost to the N.C. State Wolfpack, with David Thompson, Tommy Burleson, and Monte Towe, at the Greensboro Coliseum on a Saturday afternoon, back in 1974….Walton’s UCLA teams went something like (84-4) while they were led by “The Wizard of Westwood”(John Wooden), as they played their home games, at Pauley Pavillion in Los Angels, California…

Don’t let anybody tell you different, Bill Walton was “THE MAN”….He stood around 6’10-6’11 and he added two NBA Titles to his college basketball crowns..Bill’s NBA career was cut a bit short, and he never got to play as many games as he wanted to, because of severe foot problems/injuries…

To me, and I say this in all honesty, Bill Walton seemed like a big brother to me….He showed he could domintate the college game of basketball, and Bill showed his individual spirit at the same time…Bill was the kind of person you could look up to, because he could play the game, and could also articulate the old and new english language, and no one could talk like Bill Walton could, when he would analyze NBA or college basketball games…(And he was very tall too.)

Lots of people can talk the game, and do not get me wrong, Bill could really talk it, but he walked it, and produced beyond measure too….This is Memorial Day, and this is sort like a memorial to the memory of Bill Walton….I can guarantee this, there will never be another like be Bill Walton, and I would to think some day they will say, “There will never be another Andy Durham”…

And I hope maybe a few will say that, because I showed some of the same spirit that Bill Walton projected…I know I try and do a better job each time I write my post, because of men like Bill Walton…If I can type and write more like Bill Walton talked, that will be a glorious thing…As Floyd used to say, on the Andy Griffith Show, “That is a Beautiful Thing”…

Bill Walton was one of best pure post players to ever play the game, and he was still so fluid and mobile, while in college…In the pros, when his feet started to bother him, it became a process of Bill did not play, due to injuries…Walton got his first NBA title with the Portland Trailblazers, when all the Blazers had to hang their hats on before Bill was Geoff Petrie…Then Bill got his seocond NBA title with the Boston Celtics, where he was a backup center for Robert Parrish, and joined Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Parrish on a Celtics group of players around the lane, that were just insane…

Some say that Bill Walton was insane, and that he looked to stars for his success, and I’m talking about astrological signs, the Big Dipper, Sirius, and other spots in the sky, and maybe sometimes Bill was way out their beyond left field, but his game skills, and knowledge of the game of basketball would, and never will be questioned…

One the greatest of all-time is gone, and it is a day of sadness, with the loss of Bill Walton due to cancer….I hope fans will remember the days when Bill’s knees and feet were intact, and that we all will think of Bill Walton, as that “Bigger than Life Presence” that he really was…

I miss the Big Man already, but I consider the things he did while he was with us, as being the sort of things you remember your big brother for….Big Bill Walton, was like a big brother, and A BIG Brother, at that…

RIP:Bill Walton, and I never met you, but I feel like I have known you for my entire life…Great work Bill, and you were always the real Bill Walton, through and through….

I did not do any research for this post, so if I am off a bit on any of my details, my apologies….I like write my stuff first from total memory, and lay it out, fully heartfelt and as genuine as possible….

We will remember you Bill, and I am headed for the Forest Valley Basketball Court in the next few minutes, and I will dedicate my “Shot of the Day”, the 7-foot hookshot, to “The Man”, Bill Walton….On we go, and we will always know, that Bill Walton left it all on the floor, and he still had a little bit left for the postgame interviews…Bill Walton was a man of many talents, and his basketball skills, were second-to-none….
(Again, Cause of Death for Bill Walton was Cancer.)

Hall of Famer, beloved broadcaster Bill Walton dead at 71
from Hoops Rumors, with Luke Adams, and from YardBarker.com:

Former NBA star and Hall of Famer Bill Walton has died at the age of 71, the NBA announced today. According to the league’s release, Walton passed away surrounded by family following a “prolonged” battle with cancer.

“Bill Walton was truly one of a kind,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said as part of a longer statement. “As a Hall of Fame player, he redefined the center position. … 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. But what I will remember most about him was his zest for life. He was a regular presence at league events — always upbeat, smiling ear to ear and looking to share his wisdom and warmth.”

Walton played his college ball at UCLA, winning a pair of national championships in 1972 and 1973 and earning national college player of the year honors for three straight seasons from 1972-74. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1974 draft and won championships with the Trail Blazers in 1977 and the Celtics in 1986, as well as an MVP award with Portland in 1978.

Walton was the NBA Finals MVP in 1977 after having led the NBA in both rebounds and blocked shots per game during that season. He earned an All-Star nod and made the All-Defensive First Team in both 1977 and 1978, then won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 1986.

A long list of injuries affecting his back, knees, ankles, and feet cut Walton’s career short and limited his availability when he did play. He ultimately appeared in just 468 career regular season contests — the equivalent of fewer than six 82-game seasons — for the Blazers, Clippers, and Celtics, averaging 13.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.2 blocks in 28.3 minutes per night.

Walton was named the NBA’s 50th anniversary and 75th anniversary teams honoring the best players in league history.

Following his playing career, Walton was an NBA and NCAA color commentator for several networks, including CBS, NBC, and ABC/ESPN. His son Luke Walton also played in the NBA and has since gone into coaching — Luke spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the Cavaliers.

One thought on “College and Pro Basketball Lose one of the Top Personalities in the history of basketball: We lose a Legend, Bill Walton gone at age 71

  1. Overcame a stutter
    Walton grew up with a stutter and struggled with interviews in college and the NBA. When he was 28, he met former New York Knicks broadcaster Marty Glickman at a social event, an encounter that would change his life.

    Glickman gave Walton some tips to overcome his stutter, which included slowing his thoughts down, chewing sugarless gum and identifying the sounds that gave him the most trouble. Clearly, the tips worked.

    Walton would later become a public speaker and enjoy a long and successful career as a broadcaster on several networks. In 2001, he won an Emmy for best live sports television broadcast.

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