May 28, 2024

Bill Walton dead at 71: Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton died at the age of 71 on Tuesday after a prolonged battle with cancer. Jay Bilas remembers Walton in a moving eulogy.

For his greatness on the floor, Walton carved out a special place in the game's history that will never be forgotten. As a friend and colleague, Walton had a spirit that was bigger than life. He was a showman. I will always love Bill Walton -- he was a national treasure, and there will never be another like him.

posted by NoMich to basketball at 09:35 AM - 5 comments


posted by tommybiden at 11:18 AM on May 28, 2024

I've always loved the story of then UCLA assistant Denny Crum scouting Walton in high school and reporting back to head coach John Wooden that he'd just encountered the best HS player he'd ever seen.

Wooden cautioned Crum to be more conservative with such effusive praise, but Crum insisted.

What a marvelous time that was to be alive and to have the two top minds at the epicenter of college basketball urgently discussing a player who happened to be just down the highway a bit, and about whom the two coaches knew little and had no film of.

The magical scenario of discovering that a generational talent lived nearby and might become the next great UCLA center would never occur in today's hysterical media saturated environment.

In those days, freshmen couldn't play on the varsity and by the time Walton was ready to light up the collegiate basketball landscape as a UCLA sophomore, Crum had decided not to stick around to witness the Walton greatness firsthand and took the head coaching job at Louisville. Crum then promptly coached Louisville to the 1972 NCAA Final Four which resulted in the first of Walton's two national championships.

Another Wooden assistant, Gene Bartow, had left UCLA a year before Crum to coach Memphis State and ended up leading MSU to the 1973 NCAA title game which resulted in Bill Walton's second national championship.

posted by beaverboard at 11:54 AM on May 28, 2024

Last night must have been tough for Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, former Celtic and former teammate of Bill Walton.

posted by beaverboard at 12:38 PM on May 28, 2024

Great memories, BB.

There's a promo by Bill Walton that airs regularly on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports in which he quips that fantasy sports "sounds like my life." Every time I heard it I was reminded what a welcome presence he was in the world of basketball whenever he popped up somewhere.

posted by rcade at 08:01 AM on June 05, 2024


posted by BornIcon at 06:29 PM on June 07, 2024

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