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NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton passes away

Former NBA center and Hall of Famer Bill Walton passed away on Monday. He had a prolonged battle with cancer and 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.”

Walton won two national championships with UCLA. At UCLA he was a three-time national player of the year. In the NBA Walton played for the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Boston Celtics. He played in just 468 games because of chronic foot injuries and averaged 13.3 points and 10.5 rebounds. In the 1977-78 season he was the NBA MVP. He won two NBA championships and was a member of the NBA’s 50th and 75th anniversary teams. Walton was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.

In addition to being a player, Walton was also a broadcaster. He worked for CBS and NBC befor joining ESPN and ABC in 2002 as a lead NBA analyst before doing college basketball in 2012. In 2009 he was named one of the top 50 sports broadcasters of all time by the American Sportscasters Association.

It's a shame that Walton had to deal with foot injuries during his NBA career. While his NBA stats don’t jump off the page, they would have been better if not for the foot injuries. He could have been a big star and more of a legend in the NBA if it weren’t the injuries. As a broadcaster he was very well liked and seemed to have fun doing it. Walton wasn’t only a voice for the NBA but for college basketball as well. College basketball broadcasts aren’t the same without him.

Rest in Peace Bill Walton.

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