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Two-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer Bill Walton has died of cancer at the age of 71.

Source: MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images / Getty / Bill Walton

The sports world lost a giant on Monday with the passing of Bill Walton, a two-time NBA Champion, Basketball Hall of Famer, and all-around exceptional human being.

Through commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA announced the passing of the Emmy-winning sports broadcaster and former UCLA player on Monday.

In a statement, Silver said, “Bill Walton was truly one of a kind. 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.”

Silver continued, “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.

“As a cherished member of the NBA family for 50 years, Bill will be deeply missed by all those who came to know and love him.”

The 71-year-old former professional hooper died from cancer on Monday in the presence of his loved ones, his family said in the statement.

Bill Walton’s Long List of Accomplishments

Walton had an exceptional career, winning two national titles with the UCLA Bruins before winning two NBA championships.

His NBA career did not last long because of nagging foot injuries, playing 468 games with the Portland Trail Blazers, LA (and formerly San Diego) Clippers, and Boston Celtics, averaging a double-double, 13.3 points and 10.5 rebounds.

Walton was the NBA’s MVP during the 1977-78 season, earning a spot on the league’s 50th and 75th anniversary teams.

Walton was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993,

He seamlessly transitioned into the broadcast booth, where the 6’11 giant became one of the most recognizable voices in sports thanks to his famous catchphrase, “Throw it down, big man.”

The  American Sportscasters Association named him among the top 50 sports broadcasters in 2009.

The NBA Honors Walton on Social Media

Following the sad news, former players and friends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, and Julius “Dr.J” Erving paid tribute to Waltton on X, formerly Twitter.

“I am sad today hearing that my comrade & one of the sports worlds most beloved champions & characters has passed. Bill Walton enjoyed life in every way. To compete against him & to work with him was a blessing in my life. Sorry for your loss Walton family. We’ll miss him too,” Erving wrote on X. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote on X, “Today I had to say goodbye to a great friend that I will always miss.”

Walton is survived by his wife Lori and sons Adam, Chris, Nate, and Luke, who played ten seasons in the NBA before becoming a coach in the league.

You can see more reactions to his passing in the gallery below.

1. He will be missed

2. A legend

3. The Portland Trail Blazers say goodbye to an icon

4. So long to a So-Cal hooping legend

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6. Former President Barack Obama remembers Bill Walton

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