William Theodore Walton III. ( Born November 5, 1952 in La Mesa, California ) is a former American professional basketball player. He played 1974-1987 in the U.S. professional league NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers, San Diego Clippers and Boston Celtics. Walton is one of the best center in the NBA history, although he was plagued much of his career from injury. In the 1976/77 season he led the Trail Blazers to their first and only NBA championship, a year later, he won the award for Most Valuable Player.
Bill Walton, was born the son of a social worker and a librarian in La Mesa, a suburb of San Diego. Because of his red hair, he was nicknamed redhead (Eng. " redhead "). Walton's basketball career began at the Helix High School in his hometown. There he played with his older brother Bruce. His outstanding skills quickly brought him to the attention of dozens of universities, who wanted to win it for their team. At the end, he chose because of the personality coach John Wooden for the University of California, Los Angeles.
In each of his three seasons at UCLA (1971 / 72-1973 / 74) - he studied for four years, but freshmen were prohibited from participating in the game operating at that time - Walton was named the best college players in the country. Twice won the UCLA Bruins college championship (1972 and 1973 ), and in the meantime had a run of 88 consecutive victories. In the final of the Championship 1973 Walton scored 44 points, he hit 21 of his 22 throws from the field. It is still regarded as the greatest achievement of the college championship round.
During his student days was Walton part of the student movement of the 1970s, especially the Vietnam War opponents. He used this way his influence as one of the most popular athletes in the United States. His circle also included people who have been associated later with the bank robber Patty Hearst. When he occupied the administration building of UCLA with a group of activists, he was arrested.
In NBA Draft 1974 Walton was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the first place. After an injury -plagued rookie season Walton led the Blazers in 1977 to not only first playoff participation in club history, but directly to the NBA title, and was honored for his performance in the Finals with the NBA Finals MVP Award. A year later he got his first and only award for MVP of the NBA after he lost the election in 1977 as a second behind Kareem Abdul- Jabbar. However, the entire 1978/79 season had to stop due to his knee problems Walton. The tensions, which then built up between Walton and team officials, meant that Walton demanded a change, and on 13 May 1979 by his home team, the San Diego Clippers, signed.
Walton played five years for the Clippers, but could meet at any time the high expectations of his hometown. Injuries forced him again to suspend a large part of the season. So he moved on 6 September 1985 at the request of Larry Bird to the Boston Celtics. There it was planned from the outset as a bench player. Walton benefited from the physical relief and completed in the season 85/86 first 80 regular season games. For his achievements he won this year's NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award and helped the Celtics to the championship in 1986.
After the following season, in which he could participate in only ten games due to injuries to the knee again, he ended his basketball career. After he stuttered for a long time of his life, he was able to unlearn this through the help of a TV commentator Marty Glickmann. For several years, Walton also works as a TV commentator for ESPN.
1993 Walton was taken for his career as a power player in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.