William Theodore "Bill" Walton III (born November 5, 1952) is an American retired basketball player and television sportscaster. Walton achieved superstardom playing for John Wooden's powerhouse UCLA Bruins in the early '70s, winning three successive College Player of the Year Awards, while leading the Bruins to two Division I national titles. He then went on to have a prominent career in the National Basketball Association (NBA) where he was a league Most Valuable Player (MVP) and won two NBA championships. His professional career was significantly hampered by multiple foot injuries. Walton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on May 10, 1993〔(retrieved December 17, 2006 )〕 and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame that same year.
==Early life and college career==
Walton was born in La Mesa, California, the son of Gloria Anne (née Hickey) and William Theodore "Ted" Walton.〔(Walton's genealogy ) at rootsweb.com〕 His listed adult playing height was 6 feet 11 inches; it has been reported that Walton is actually taller (7 feet 2 inches, or more), but does not like being categorized as a seven-footer.
He played high school basketball at Helix High School. At age 17, Walton played for the United States men's national basketball team at the 1970 FIBA World Championship.〔(1970 USA Basketball )〕 He played college basketball for John Wooden at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from 1971 to 1974, winning the national title in 1972 over Florida State and again in 1973 with an 87–66 win over Memphis State in which Walton made 21 of 22 field goal attempts and scored 44 points, representing more than half his team's total points.
The Walton-led 1971–72 UCLA basketball team had a record of 30–0, in the process winning its games by an average margin of more than 30 points. He was the backbone of two consecutive 30–0 seasons and was also part of UCLA's NCAA men's basketball record 88-game winning streak. The UCLA streak contributed to a personal winning streak that lasted almost five years, in which Walton's high school, UCLA freshman (freshmen were ineligible for the varsity at that time), and UCLA varsity teams did not lose a game from the middle of his junior year of high school to the middle of his senior year in college.
Walton was the 1973 recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Walton also received the USBWA College Player of the Year and Naismith College Player of the Year as the top college basketball player in the country three years in a row while attending UCLA, at the same time earning Academic All-American honors three times. Some college basketball historians rate Walton as the greatest who ever played the game at the college level.〔(NCAA Basketball Tourney History - CBSSports.com )〕 In Walton's senior year during the 1973–74 season, the school's 88-game winning streak ended with a 71–70 loss to Notre Dame. During the same season, UCLA's record seven consecutive national titles was broken when North Carolina State defeated the Bruins 80–77 in double overtime in the NCAA semi-finals. With Walton's graduation in 1974 and legendary Bruin coach John Wooden's retirement after UCLA's 1975 national title, the UCLA dynasty came to an end.
Prior to joining the varsity team, Walton (18.1, 68.6 per cent), along with Greg Lee (17.9 ppg) and Keith Wilkes (20.0 ppg), was a member of the 20–0 UCLA Freshman team.〔1972 Official Collegiate Basketball Guide, College Athletics Publishing Service, 1971〕
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