Bill Walton dead at 71: The legendary NBA player and broadcaster has passed away from cancer

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Two-time NBA champion Bill Walton, who was also a broadcaster, has died at 71.

Legendary NBA player and broadcaster Bill Walton has passed away from cancer at the age of 71. Considered one of the greatest college basketball players of all time, Bill Walton was a two time NBA champion, and won one title with the Portland Trail Blazers and another with the Boston Celtics. NBA commissioner Adam Silver paid tribute to Bill Walton in a statement which read: “Bill Walton was truly one of a kind. As a Hall of Fame player, he redefined the center position. His unique all-around skills made him a dominant force at UCLA and led to an NBA regular-season and Finals MVP, two NBA championships and a spot on the NBA's 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams.

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

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After retiring from basketball, Bill Walton went on to become a broadcaster, he overcame a stutter and was named one of the top 50 sports broadcasters of all-time in 2009 and even won an Emmy in 1991.

The New York Times wrote that “When Walton was 28, he said he met New York Knicks broadcaster Marty Glickman, who gave him a series of tips on how to correct his stutter, which included slowing your thoughts down, reading out loud and chewing sugarless gum to strengthen jaw muscles. He also told Walton to identify the sounds that gave him trouble — for Walton it was words with D, H, S, Th and W — and find books or articles with those words and practice.”

When Bill Walton joined ESPN back in 2002, he was a lead analyst for NBA games, but moved over to college basketball in 2012.

Two-time NBA champion Bill Walton, who was also a broadcaster, has died at 71.Two-time NBA champion Bill Walton, who was also a broadcaster, has died at 71.
Two-time NBA champion Bill Walton, who was also a broadcaster, has died at 71. | Getty Images

Since the news of Bill Walton’s passing has been announced, tributes have been pouring in for him. The NBA Alumni on X wrote: The basketball community has lost a Legend. Our hearts are with the family, friends and fans of Bill Walton, whilst UCLA Men's Basketball wrote: “UCLA mourns the passing of two-time NCAA champion Bill Walton, a Naismith Hall of Fame inductee (1993) and charter member of the @UCLAAthletcis Hall of Fame (1984).”

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