Blazers Share Video Honoring Late Hall Of Famer Bill Walton

By Jason Hall

May 29, 2024

Celebrities At The Los Angeles Clippers Game
Photo: Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers shared a tribute video honoring late Hall of Fame center Bill Walton Tuesday (May 28) night.

"In memory of a remarkable man who truly loved and embodied the spirit of Rip City," the Blazers wrote on their social media accounts.

Walton died at the age of 71 "following a prolonged battle with cancer," the NBA announced in a news release on Monday (May 27). The three-time UCLA national champion and national college player of the year was selected by the Blazers at No. 1 overall in the 1974 NBA Draft, lead the franchise to its only NBA title in history in 1977 and won the 1978 NBA MVP award during his first five seasons.

“Bill Walton was a true legend — an extraordinary player, talented broadcaster, and vital part of the Blazers organization," the team said in a statement shared on its official website. "His mastery of the game not only established him as one of the greatest centers in history, but also led the Blazers to a championship in 1977, where he earned NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. But Bill was so much more than basketball, he was larger than life. His upbeat and vibrant personality will forever be remembered and cherished, and he will be deeply missed by our organization, Rip City and all who experienced him. Our love and condolences go to Bill’s wife, Lori and his sons, Adam, Nate, Luke and Chris.”

Walton later played for the San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers from 1979 to 1985 and the Boston Celtics from 1985 to 1988, which included winning his second NBA championship in 1986. The California native retired in 1988 with 6,215 points, 4,923 rebounds and 1,590 assists.

Walton gained notoriety off the court for his larger than life, free-spirited personality, which shined through in his unique broadcasting style of both NBA and college basketball games in the years after his retirement.

"Bill Walton was truly one of a kind," said NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league's news release. "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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