Bill Walton has a passion for his work, for family and friends, for music, for life and for greatness. He brings his passions to the stage and inspires audiences with tales of an improbable life in sport and beyond. Walton speaks about the secrets of world-class performance, personal and organizational excellence, and how he overcame nearly impossible odds – on the court and off – to persevere and win. As entertaining as he is insightful, Walton is widely considered one of the best speakers from the world of sports.
The lessons Walton learned on the basketball court became life lessons that served him well throughout his sports, broadcasting and business careers. No lesson was more important than the words from the legendary John Wooden, Bill’s basketball coach at UCLA, who simply said “Do your best.” Wooden never asked players to go out and win – simply to do their best and not beat themselves. Walton never forgot those words which helped him throughout his extraordinary career.
Following a celebrated college basketball career, Walton went on to have a Hall of Fame NBA career. After basketball, Walton pursued his dream job as a sports broadcaster – but first had to overcome the lifelong stuttering affliction. And then, in 2008, Walton endured risky back surgery to repair damage done early in his basketball career. Through it all, Walton’s determination carried him through.
Walton enrolled at UCLA in 1970. He played center for John Wooden’s varsity team for three seasons (1972-1974), after a year with the freshman team in 1971. He was a member of two NCAA championship teams compiling an NCAA record 88 consecutive game winning streak.
From 1972 to 1974 Walton was named NCAA Player of the Year Award. He is a three-time All-American College Player and winner of the Sullivan Award for the United States Best Amateur Athlete of 1973. He was named to the Pacific 8 All-Conference first team three times and was conference player of the year for three consecutive years. At UCLA Walton was a scholar-athlete who also earned Academic All-American honors three years in a row. He graduated with honors with a B.A. in history. Walton also attended Stanford University Graduate School of Law in the early 1980’s.
Walton’s professional career began when he was the number one overall pick in the 1974 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers. He was a member of their championship team in 1977. Nine years later he earned another championship title, this time with the Boston Celtics in 1986. He played with the Trailblazers 1974-1979, the San Diego Clippers 1979-1984, the relocated Los Angeles Clippers in 1985 and The Boston Celtics 1985-1988.
Walton was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, 1978; All-NBA First Team, 1978; NBA All-Star Team, 1977 and 1978; NBA Playoff’s MVP, 1977; All-NBA second team, 1977; winner of the NBA Sixth Man Award, 1986. Walton is one of only four players in the history of basketball to have won multiple NCAA and multiple NBA Championships. Walton is also the second of only five players in the history of the NBA to lead the league in both blocked shots and rebounding in the same season. In 1991 Walton received the NBPA’s Oscar Robertson Leadership Awards. In 1993 Walton was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1997 Walton was selected as one of the NBA’s Fifty Greatest Players of All Time. Also in 1997 Walton was inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, making him the first male basketball player from the state of California to be so honored.
After retiring from basketball Walton began his broadcasting career in 1990 as an analyst for the then Prime Ticket Network. Walton worked for CBS Sports in the early 90’s and then for NBC for many years, including work on the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic Games. Over his career he’s also done broadcasting work for ABC, ESPN, FOX, MSNBC, Turner Sports, KCAL, NESA and the NBA. Walton has been nominated for numerous Emmy Awards and in 2001 won an Emmy for Best Live Sports Television Broadcast. The southern California Sports Broadcasters Association has several times honored Walton with the Best Television Analyst/Commentator Award. In 2009, Walton was named one of the top 50 sports broadcasters of all time by the American Sportscasters Association.
In June 21, 2001, Walton was named as the inaugural inductee into the Grateful Dead Hall of Honor, and signed memorabilia is available. All proceeds go to benefit the Rex Foundation, the non-profit charitable organization founded by members of the Grateful Dead and friends.
Walton is active with many organizations and charities. For his efforts, in 2002 he received the NBA Retired Players Association Humanitarian Award. His activities include his current role as the executive chairman of Connect SD Sport Innovators (SDSI), a non-profit, business-accelerating, trade organization that connects and drives the growth of Southern California’s vibrant sports economy by offering innovative programs and services for startups, mature companies and service providers. SDSI offers mentoring, education and capital funding opportunities for start-ups; best practice collaboration, access to new technology, and public policy advocacy for mature companies; as well as deal flow to our service providers and the Southern California Investment Community. Walton is also a board member for the Junior Seau foundation.
Walton is also involved in numerous Internet ventures, providing content and business acumen. Walton is author of Back from the Dead (March, 2016) and Nothing But Net. Walton currently resides in his hometown of San Diego with his wife Lori. They are the proud parents of four sons: Adam, Nathan, Luke and Chris, and the lucky grandparents of Olivia, Chase, Parker, Avery, Patrick, Lawson, Wilhelmina.
All American Speakers is a speakers bureau and booking agency providing information on booking Bill Walton for speaking engagements, personal appearances and corporate events. Contact an All American Speakers Bureau booking agent for more information on Bill Walton speaking fees, availability, speech topics and cost to hire for your next event.
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