Bill Walton, who was known from birth as William Theodore Walton III, is a former Basketball superstar who hung up his ball over three decades ago and is currently a television sports presenter. Like many who have reached the pinnacle of the sports world, Walton was a superstar in his college days and represented his universities basketball team UCLA Bruins led by the enigmatic John Wooden. He not only single-handedly led his team to two national titles but he also won three consecutive College Player of the Year Awards which was the perfect springboard to help him have a prominent NBA career.
Bill was born on the 5th of November in 1952 in a small suburb in California called La Mesa to his father William Theodore Walton and Gloria Anne his mother. From a very early age, Bill had a basketball put in his hands by his parents and he began playing in high school Helix High. Walton also reached an impressive feat for a teenager by being the youngest baller to represent the United States men’s national basketball team at the 1970 FIBA World Championship.
His exploits at high school didn’t stop at that level but actually spilled over to his college days in UCLA when he won an impressive amount of individual honors which included the USBWA College Player of the Year, Naismith College Player of the Year as the top college player in three consecutive seasons and the prestigious James E. Sullivan Award for the top amateur athlete in the United States in 1973.
His legendary skills in college basketball were so profound that most college basketball historians rated Walton as the greatest ever to play the game at college level. His effect on the college game was so immense that his graduation in 1974, led to the retirement of his coach and was the end of the UCLA dynasty.
Following his graduation in 1974, Walton was immediately thrust into the NBA Draft that same year and was picked as the number one overall by the Portland Trail Blazers. His arrival at the Portland franchise was hugely anticipated as Walton was being tagged the savior of the franchise but his first two seasons were ruined by a number of injuries to his nose, wrist and foot which was the contributing factor to the Blazer’s missing the playoffs both seasons Walton was out.
In the 76-77 season, he returned to his full ability and was fit enough to play around 65 games showing his quality by leading the NBA in rebounds and blocked shots per game. After a series of recurring foot injuries, Walton decided to quit the Blazers and during the 77-78 off season, he requested to be traded but wasn’t and he had to sit out the 78-79 season in protest. When he was finally released, he joined the San Diego Clippers as a free agent.
His time at the Clippers was short lived and marred with the same recurring foot injuries; he played just 14 games in two seasons while undergoing several reconstructive surgeries on his foot. Although there was a marked improvement in his foot, Walton had to be traded to the Boston Celtics after the 84-85 campaign.
Three more seasons later at the Celtics, Walton got injured again but made the good effort to return for the playoffs in 1987. The injury occurred again causing him to sit out the entire 87-88 season and prompting his decision to retire in 1990 citing recurring injuries.
Although he retired early to give his foot and ankle the chance to heal better, it got worse so that he eventually had to have his ankles surgically fused. Walton once admitted on air in June 2010 that he contemplated suicide due to the recurring pain. So although he was an amazing talent, Walton had the unwanted record of missing the most games during an NBA career.
Bill Walton’s Wife and Sons
Walton has been married twice; first to Susan Guth whom he had four sons with. Their marriage lasted for a decade from 1979 to 1989. Their sons include Adam, Nathan, Chris, and Luke. All of Walton’s four sons became athletes. All of them played college basketball but Luke had the most success with the game as he is the only one to have played in the NBA.
His playing career lasted for a decade from 2003 to 2013. He won two NBA Championships and together with his dad are the only father and son pair to win multiple NBA championships. After retiring, Luke went into coaching. He coached as an assistant at the Golden State for two years before being named head coach of the Lakers on April 29, 2016. He is married to his longtime girlfriend Bre Ladd who excelled in college volleyball for Arizona.
Bill Walton married his second wife Lori Matsuoka in 1991. They live together in San Diego.
Bill Walton has an older brother named Bruce Edward Walton who like him was a professional athlete. Born on June 14, 1951, in San Diego, California, Bruce Edward Walton played college football on scholarship and was selected in the fifth round (126th overall) of the 1973 NFL draft. He had a brief stint in the NFL playing as an offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys.
Bruce played in the Super Bowl X in 1975. The brothers made history by becoming the only brothers to ever play in the Super Bowl and NBA Finals, America’s highest sporting stage.
Like Bill, his brother Bruce had his career truncated by an injury. He retired in 1976. Bruce stands at 6 feet 6 inches tall, which is almost 2.0 cm.
Height, Weight, Body Measurements
Basketball is a game of giants and Bill Walton doesn’t fall short in that regard, he is a mountain of a man who although has a listed height of 6 ft 11 which is around 2.11 m is actually 7 ft 2. Walton also has a listed weight of 210 lb which is 95 kg.