Bill Walton dies at 71: Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, sports world reacts to Hall of Famer’s passing

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Baymer Bill Walton’s Basketball Arena He died on Monday at the age of 71, according to an announcement by the NBA. Walton was battling cancer.

“Bill Walton was truly one of a kind. As a Hall of Fame player, he redefined the center position,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a press release. “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 later translated his infectious enthusiasm and love. He was insightful and provided colorful commentary, but what I remember most about him is that he was a regular presence at League events — an ear-to-ear grin and sharing his wisdom and warmth.

Walton had an illustrious career as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics. The star big man was first selected with the No. 1 pick in 1974 The NBA Draft After a stellar college career at UCLA.

Walton won a pair of NBA titles with the Trail Blazers in 1977 and the Celtics in 1986. The Hall of Fame big man was named NBA Finals MVP in 1977 after helping the Trail Blazers defeat the Philadelphia 76ers in six games.

The former top recruit spent a long career as a broadcaster as he became a fixture covering Pac-12 men’s basketball over the years.

Walton was a special personality, highly respected by many basketball players and administrators. Sixers legend Julius Erving, former UCLA teammate and basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and other athletes paid tribute to Walton following his passing.

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