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Two-Time NBA Champion Bill Walton Dead At 71

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Two-time NBA champion Bill Walton, who won two national titles with the UCLA Bruins, passed away this week after a prolonged battle with cancer at the age of 71.

The National Basketball Association released a statement following the loss of their former player.

“Bill Walton was truly one of a kind.

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. I treasured our close friendship, envied his boundless energy and admired the time he took with every person he encountered.

As a cherished member of the NBA family for 50 years, Bill will be deeply missed by all those who came to know and love him.”

ESPN

Walton was selected with the first overall pick in the 1974 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. Bill played in the National Basketball Association for ten seasons.

After winning the NBA Championship in 1977 with the Portland Trail Blazers, Walton played for the Boston Celtics, where he won another championship in 1986. Throughout his career, Walton averaged a double-double, totaling 6,215 points (13.3 per game), 4,293 rebounds (10.5 per game), 1,034 blocks (2.2 per game), and 1,590 assists.

During his collegiate career at UCLA, Bill won two national championships. UCLA coach Mick Cronin released a statement following Walton’s passing.

“It’s very hard to put into words what he has meant to UCLA’s program, as well as his tremendous impact on college basketball,

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.

As a passionate UCLA alumnus and broadcaster, he loved being around our players, hearing their stories and sharing his wisdom and advice. For me as a coach, he was honest, kind and always had his heart in the right place. I will miss him very much. It’s hard to imagine a season in Pauley Pavilion without him.”

ESPN

Throughout his time in the league, Walton was selected to the All-Star Game twice, led the NBA in rebounding and blocks in 1977, and was the league’s Sixth Man of the Year in 1986.

Rest in peace!

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