William Theodore “Bill” Walton III is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in American history. He was a tall man who stood almost 7 feet tall and was a National Basketball Association (NBA) legend as the league’s Most Valuable Player. When he was a member of John Wooden’s varsity squad, the UCLA Bruins, he generated awe and admiration among his peers and coaches. He was the most successful player on his college team and received the James E. Sullivan Award for the finest amateur athlete in the United States; some sports historians consider him to be the best player to ever play the game at the collegiate level. He began playing for the Portland Trail Blazers after college, joining them at a time when they were having a very terrible run. The gifted young guy got off to a fast start, averaging 16.0 points per game over his first seven games. Unfortunately, from the start of his career, he was plagued by ailments. He once injured his foot, which triggered a series of foot and ankle problems that jeopardized his career, forcing him to quit prematurely. He went on to become a prominent, if sometimes controversial, NBA analyst after retiring.
Childhood and Adolescence
He was born in California to Gloria Anne and William Theodore Walton. When he was in fourth grade, he began playing basketball. Gordon Nash, who coached him at Helix High School, was his coach. He was a key member of his team’s two victories in the California Interscholastic Federation High School championships. In 1970, he enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and from 1971 to 1974, he was a member of John Wooden’s varsity basketball team.
He established himself as the team’s backbone and guided them to multiple victories. He guided the UCLA basketball team to a 30-0 record in 1971-72, with an average margin of victory of more than 30 points. In 1972 and 1973, the team won the national championship. His team won 88 games in a row before losing to the University of Notre Dame in the 1973-74 season. In 1974, he received his bachelor’s degree from UCLA.
Career of William
Following his graduation, he was signed by the San Diego Conquistadors of the American Basketball Association. The Portland Trail Blazers selected him as the first overall pick in the 1974 NBA Draft. The Portland Trail Blazers were going through a difficult patch, and Walton was their only hope. He did not disappoint, posting 16.0 points per game and 19.0 rebounds per game in his first seven outings as a rookie. His career, however, was soon derailed by injuries. As a rookie, he was limited to 35 games. Despite the fact that he helped his club win 11 more games in 1974-75 than the previous year, he was unable to fully realize his potential.
A fractured wrist, sprained ankle, dislocated foot, and broken toes were among his injuries by 1975-76. He was able to play in the 1976-77 season after recovering sufficiently. Jack Ramsay, the team’s new head coach, pushed him to give it his all. He played 65 games and led the Portland Trail Blazers to an NBA championship victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Before breaking his foot the next year, he helped his side win 50 of their first 60 games. He appeared in his only All-Star Game in 1978. During a series against the Seattle SuperSonics, he suffered another injury. The Trail Blazers lost the series while he was out.
After departing the Trail Blazers in 1979, he joined the San Diego Clippers. Due to injury, he was only able to play 14 games in the 1979-80 season. In order to regain his health and return to the field, he had major reconstructive surgery and therapy on his broken foot. He could play 33 games in 1982-83 and 55 games the following season if his health improves. In 1984-85, he regained his form and appeared in 67 games. He signed a contract with the Boston Celtics and appeared in 80 games for them, which was a career high. That season, he won the NBA Sixth Man Award.
He spent the 1987-88 season on the injured list after yet another injury. Despite his best attempts, he was unable to return to the game and was forced to retire in 1990.
He remained involved in his favorite sport after retiring as a player by working as a pundit. From 1990 until 2002, he worked as an NBA analyst for NBC and the Los Angeles Clippers. In 2002, he became an analyst for ABC/ESPN. He stepped down from ESPN in 2009 due to health issues. He joined the Sacramento Kings as a part-time analyst and wants to return to television as a game analyst.
Major Projects of William
He is widely recognized as the finest player to ever play collegiate basketball. During his time at UCLA, he was a member of the NCAA men’s team that set an 88-game winning streak and contributed significantly to the school’s record of seven straight national titles.
Achievements & Awards
From 1972 to 1974, he was selected the Naismith College Player of the Year three times in a row.
While playing for the Portland Trail Blazers in 1978, he won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. The honor is given to the player who has had the best season performance.
Personal History and Legacy
He was previously married to Susie and has four sons with her. Luke, his son, is a pro basketball player.
Lori Matsuoka, his wife, is his life partner.
Estimated Net Worth
Bill Walton has a net worth of $20 million as a retired professional basketball player and television sportscaster in the United States. Walton joined the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1970s after distinguishing himself as a skilled basketball player during his college years with the UCLA Bruins. He won the Most Valuable Player Award in the NBA Finals in 1977, the same year the Trail Blazers won the NBA Championship. In 1986, he won another championship, this time with the Boston Celtics.
He overcome his stuttering condition and went on to be a great pundit.
He is a huge fan of the hard rock band Grateful Dead, having seen them perform over 600 times.
The Portland Trail Blazers retired his No. 32 jersey in his honor at the time of his retirement.