Bill Walton – one of the greatest centers in the history of college basketball and the NBA – received one of the highest honors a basketball player can receive 28 years ago today.
That honor was his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 10, 1993.
Walton’s path to joining such elite company really began during his college years playing at UCLA. There, he helped lead one of the most successful college programs in the history of college basketball. According to his Hall of Fame biography, Walton played a key role in the Bruins’ 88-game winning streak. He also helped lead the team to two NCAA National Championship titles. He was also selected as the National College Player of the Year three times.
Walton Began NBA Career With Portland Trailblazers in 1974
With such a successful college career, it’s no surprise that Bill Walton then entered the NBA draft. He began his professional career in 1974 with the Portland Trailblazers. It took only a few seasons before he helped them reach the top of the league. The team won the 1977 NBA championship.
Following Portland, Walton moved on to the San Diego Clippers. The team later became the Los Angeles Clippers. In 1985 he went to the Boston Celtics where he played with the legendary Larry Bird, Robert Parish, and Kevin McHale. They went on to win the NBA championship in 1986.
Sadly, Walton did not get to play in the NBA as long as he should have. According to Sports.Jrank.org, “chronic injury” shortened the Hall of Famer’s playing career. He particularly suffered from knee and foot injuries.
While in Portland, he was named the NBA’s most valuable player. He was an NBA all-star twice.
In addition to his skills on the court, Walton is known for his unique personality, bright red hair, and career as a broadcaster. He is also the father of four really good basketball players. The most famous of these is Luke Walton. After a successful career at the University of Arizona, Luke went on to an NBA-playing career that included two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. He is now the head coach of the Sacramento Kings.
The 1993 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame also included Dr. J (Julius Erving), according to NBA.com. Other players inducted that year were Calvin Murphy, Walt Bellamy, Dan Issell, Dick McGuire, Ann Meyers, and Uljana Semjonova.
Bill Walton Gives Speech During Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony
As part of the celebration of the 1993 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Bill Walton and other inductees had the opportunity to share their feelings on such a memorable occasion.
In the speech, Walton talked about playing against Dr. J. He thanked his family, his coaches, and others who helped shape the basketball player – and person – he became.
“I’d also like to thank the coaches who gave so much to me,” Walton said. “The five Hall of Fame coaches I played for …” Those coaches were Jack Ramsay, Lenny Wilkins, K.C. Jones, John Wooden, and Red Auerbach.
“I’d also like to thank my teammates – my teammates who made me a much better basketball player than I ever could have become myself,” Walton said. “The concept of team has always been the most intriguing aspect of basketball to me. …”
You can watch Bill Walton give his speech below.
Being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame is not the only honor Bill Walton has received. He was also named as one of the NBA’s fifty best players of all time in 1997. He was presented with the NCAA’s Silver Anniversary Award in 1999. And in 2001, thanks to his years following the Grateful Dead, he was one of the first people to enter the Grateful Dead Hall of Fame.