Birthday: November 5, 1952
Age: 68 Years, 68 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Bill Walton
Born in: La Mesa, California
Famous as: American basketball player
Height: 6'11" (211 cm), 6'11" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Susan Guth (m. 1979–1989)
father: William Theodore
mother: Gloria Anne
siblings: Bruce Walton
children: Adam Walton, Chris Walton, Luke Walton, Nathan Walton
U.S. State: California
education: University of California, Los Angeles, Stanford Law School
awards: - Player of the Year Awards
1973 - James E. Sullivan Award
- NBA Sixth Man Award
- Sixth Man Award
Who is William Theodore Walton III?
William Theodore “Bill” Walton III is counted amongst the best basketball players ever to have graced the game in America. A tall man, he towered with a height of almost 7 feet and became a National Basketball Association (NBA) legend as a league Most Valuable Player. He inspired awe and admiration from his peers and coaches alike when he played for John Wooden’s varsity team UCLA Bruins. He was the most successful player of his college team and won the James E. Sullivan Award for the top amateur athlete in the United States; he is regarded as the best player ever to have played the game at college level by some sports historians. After college he started playing for Portland Trail Blazers joining them at a time when they were going through a really bad streak. The talented young man set off to a blazing start averaging 16.0 ppg in his first seven games. Unfortunately his career was plagued by injuries from the very beginning. He once broke a foot that set off a string of foot and ankle injuries which threatened his career and he was forced to retire untimely. After his retirement he became a successful though somewhat controversial NBA commentator.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born to Gloria Anne and William Theodore Walton in California.
He started playing basketball when he was in the fourth grade.
He went to Helix High School where he was coached by Gordon Nash. He helped his team win the California Interscholastic Federation High School title twice.
He enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1970 and played for John Wooden’s varsity team from 1971 to 1974. He became the backbone of the team and led them to several victories.
In 1971-72, he led the UCLA basketball team to a record of 30-0 and won the games by an average margin of more than 30 points. The team won the national title in 1972 and again in 1973.
During the 1973-74 season, his school won 88 games in a row before losing to the University of Notre Dame.
He graduated from UCLA in 1974.
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He was signed by American Basketball Association’s San Diego Conquistadors upon his graduation. He was also the number one overall pickup in the 1974 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Portland Trail Blazers were going through a rough streak and had their hopes pinned upon Walton. He did not disappoint—he set off on a roaring start averaging 16.0 ppg and 19.0 rpg as a rookie in his first seven appearances.
However his career was soon hampered by injury problems. He could play only 35 games as a rookie. Even though he helped his team win 11 more games in 1974-75 than in the previous year, he could not utilize his full potential.
By 1975-76 his list of injuries included a broken wrist, sprained ankle, dislocated foot and broken toes.
He had recovered enough to play in the 1976-77 season. The team now had a new head coach Jack Ramsay who encouraged him to give his best. Motivated, he played 65 games and led the Portland Trail Blazers to the NBA title win over the favourites Philadelphia 76ers.
The next year he helped his team win 50 of their first 60 games before he broke his foot. In 1978 he played in his only All-Star Game.
He again injured himself while playing in a series against the Seattle SuperSonics. In his absence, the Trail Blazers lost the series.
He signed with the San Diego Clippers in 1979 after leaving the Trail Blazers. However he could play only 14 games in the 1979-80 season due to his injuries.
He underwent extensive reconstructive surgeries on his injured foot and went through rehabilitation in order to regain his health and return to the field.
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With improvement in his health he could play 33 games in 1982-83 and 55 games the next season. He regained his form and played 67 games in 1984-85.
He signed a deal with Boston Celtics and played in a career-high of 80 games with them. He won the NBA Sixth Man Award that season.
After yet another injury he spent the 1987-88 season on the injured list. He could not return to the game in spite of his wholehearted efforts, and was forced to retire in 1990.
Post his retirement as a player he remained connected to his favourite sport by becoming a commentator. He had a successful career as a NBA commentator for NBC and the Los Angeles Clippers from 1990 to 2002.
He moved on to be a commentator on ABC/ESPN in 2002. He left ESPN in 2009 because of health reasons.
He became a part-time commentator for the Sacramento Kings and has plans to return to broadcasting as a game analyst.
He is regarded as the greatest ever player to have played basketball at the college level. He played in the UCLA’s NCAA men’s team which created the 88-game winning streak record and played a major role in UCLA's record of seven consecutive national titles while he was a student there.
Awards & Achievements
He was named the Naismith College Player of the Year for three consecutive years from 1972 to 1974.
He received NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 1978 while playing for the Portland Trail Blazers. The award is given to the best performing player of the season.
Personal Life & Legacy
He was previously married to Susie with whom he has four sons. His son Luke is a professional basketball player.
He is married to Lori Matsuoka.
He overcame his problem with stuttering to become a successful commentator.
He is a big fan of the hard rock band Grateful Dead and has attended more than 600 of their concerts.
His jersey No. 32 was also retired by the Portland Trail Blazers in his honour at the time of his retirement.