Home US The NBA pays tribute to Bill Walton before the first game of the Celtics and Mavericks finals

The NBA pays tribute to Bill Walton before the first game of the Celtics and Mavericks finals

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Celtics' Jayson Tatum wore a jersey honoring Bill Walton with his teammates on Thursday

The NBA has paid tribute to Bill Walton ahead of the start of the Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks following the Hall of Famer’s death at age 71 from colorectal cancer last month.

Before Game 1 at TD Garden on Thursday night, the Celtics honored their former great man, who won a championship with the franchise in 1986, with a special montage of his legacy and highlights from his career in Boston .

“I’m the luckiest man in the world,” Walton said in old interviews while describing the feeling of having won and played for the Celtics. ‘I have been part of the best teams in basketball history: UCLA, Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics.

“What a team, what a franchise, what a history, what a present, what a future. I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” he added, referring to the Celtics.

Celtics players commemorated Walton by wearing black jerseys with Walton’s name in various colors before kickoff. Both teams also observed a minute of silence.

Celtics’ Jayson Tatum wore a jersey honoring Bill Walton with his teammates on Thursday

Both teams held a minute of silence for Walton after a tribute clip was played in the arena.

Both teams held a minute of silence for Walton after a tribute clip was played in the arena.

Walton, a player turned analyst, died in May after a lengthy battle with colorectal cancer.

Walton, a player turned analyst, died in May after a lengthy battle with colorectal cancer.

Walton’s family, including his son and former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton, attended Thursday night’s game and were all seen in the stands wearing the same jerseys paying tribute to the two-time NBA champion. than the players on the field. .

NBA commissioner Adam Silver shared that Celtics players would honor Walton before Thursday’s game.

In addition to the Celtics, Walton won an NBA title and Finals MVP with the Trail Blazers in 1977. He was also the NBA MVP in 1978 and a two-time NCAA national champion with UCLA, leading the Bruins to an 88-game winning streak. .

All of his achievements at the college level earned him the privilege of being the first overall pick in the 1974 NBA Draft.

Walton, who averaged 13.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 blocks in 468 regular-season games in a career that spanned from 1974 to 1988, was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Memorial in 1993 and in the National University Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

He was also named to the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary teams.

The former center played an integral role in the Celtics' quest for an NBA championship in 1986.

The former center played an integral role in the Celtics’ quest for an NBA championship in 1986.

Walton's family was at TD Garden to honor the two-time NBA champion, including his son Luke.

Walton’s family was at TD Garden to honor the two-time NBA champion, including his son Luke.

Before Thursday night's game, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver revealed warm-up jerseys in tribute to Walton.

Before Thursday night’s game, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver revealed warm-up jerseys in tribute to Walton.

After retiring from the NBA, Walton overcame his stutter and embarked on a second career as a sportscaster, working as a studio analyst and color commentator on various networks and teams. He won an Emmy Award in 1991.

Walton was a fan of the Grateful Dead, as a self-described ‘Deadhead’, and often mentioned them on his broadcasts. He hosted several podcasts and satellite radio shows featuring the music of the Grateful Dead.

Last week, former NBA player-turned-analyst Charles Barkley paid tribute to Walton on TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA’ while Shaquille O’Neal also offered insight into his ‘up-and-down relationship’ with the late basketball icon.

In the wake of Walton’s death, Celtics legend Larry Bird, former U.S. President Barack Obama and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith honored the California native.

Last week, it was also revealed that NBA Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning underwent surgery to remove his prostate following a stage 3 cancer diagnosis in March.

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