Bill Walton, Portland Trail Blazers legend and self-proclaimed “Luckiest Guy in the World,” turned 71 on Sunday.
Walton will be best remembered in Rip City for leading the Trail Blazers to their first and only NBA championship in 1977. The 6-foot-11 center won NBA Finals MVP, averaging 18.5 points, 19 rebounds and 5.2 assists in the 4-2 series victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. The next season Walton took home MVP honors for the regular season. While Walton’s career with the franchise only spanned four seasons due to injuries, he firmly placed himself in the Trail Blazers Mount Rushmore for the great heights he reached. Throughout his illustrious playing career in college and the NBA, Walton revolutionized the center position as a dominant and cerebral big man.
Following his playing career, Walton has taken on a new life as one of the most entertaining and goofiest basketball color commentators — quick to launch into tangents and stories that don’t always involve game action. His passion for the game, life, and of course, the Grateful Dead, come through in every broadcast.
As a way to celebrate Walton’s 71st birthday, drop your favorite stories about the Trail Blazer great, on and off the court, in the comment section below!