Bill Walton, NBA Hall of Famer and UCLA legend, dies at age 71

Hall of Famer center and lovable longtime basketball broadcaster Bill Walton passed away at the age of 71 after a long battle with cancer, the NBA announced on Monday. Walton was a member of the legendary Boston Celtics 1986 NBA Championship team. Walton won multiple championships in high school, college and the NBA.

He was 71 years old.

“Bill Walton was truly one of a kind,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “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.

“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. My heartfelt condolences to Bill’s wife, Lori; his sons, Adam, Nate, Luke and Chris; and his many friends and colleagues.”

Walton won NBA titles with the Trail Blazers in 1977 and the Celtics in 1986, earning the Finals MVP award in 1977, along with the NBA MVP award in 1978.

During his college days at UCLA, Walton was a three-time national player of the year under the legendary coach John Wooden, leading the Bruins to two NCAA championships.

After retiring in 1987, Walton transitioned to a successful broadcasting career