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Bill Walton, NBA star who finished with the Celtics, dies at 71

The NBA reports the death of Bill Walton after a battle with cancer.

Walton came to the Celtics in 1985 under Red Auerbach and retired in 1987.

He later became a basketball announcer. In 2022, he rode a new Orange Line train to the Garden for a Celtics/Warriors playoff game (and had to duck getting on).

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Win it for Bill! Focus and win it for Bill!

Voting closed 18

I had the good fortune of meeting Bill and his wife very briefly almost exactly a year ago at a small music venue in San Diego, and managed to get a quick photo with him, which they were very gracious about. It was a Grateful Dead cover band and they seemed to be enjoying themselves. RIP Bill.

Voting closed 31

I remember the euphoria of Blazermania as a young kid. It was good to see the ways that he moved on from both his time with the Blazers and playing basketball as he got older.

Walton was a happy face on a tall pile of lifelong pain from injuries and physical breakdown. He still did his best to live not just a good life, but a compassionate one. If there is a place beyond this, let's hope he's squaring up with the other lost greats for an epic game of horse.

Voting closed 35

He gave a great AMA (ask me anything) interview on Reddit:

Voting closed 20

He sucked the marrow out of life and his joy and passion were contagious. Bill left things much better than he found them.

Voting closed 17

A great human..

Larry Bird once called him one of the greatest players ever when healthy.

Larry didn't mispeak often, nor gave out many compliments, but was asked to clarify if he meant one of the best centers.

Nope, Larry meant players.

Bill was an equally exceptional human.

His generous heart and goodwill transcended his prodigious athleticism.

Godspeed, Bill.

You'll be missed.

Voting closed 25

The 85-86 Celtics, though they went on to be a powerhouse and a champion, lost their first game to the wretched Nets. It was Walton's first game with the C's and he was despondent in the locker room, talking about how he let down himself, the team, was a disgrace to everyone who ever put on a Boston uniform, until Larry Bird said something, "Jesus, we'd better win soon - I can't take 82 more of these".

Voting closed 27