Celtics Legend Larry Bird Comments on Bill Walton’s Death

Larry Bird

Getty Larry Bird address the the crowd during the 2024 NBA All-Star Game.

The Boston Celtics are arguably the greatest franchise in NBA history, and arguably their greatest player offered public comments on the death of Bill Walton on Monday, May 27, 2024.

Larry Bird played with Walton, winning a title together in 1986. Bird released a statement following the news that Walton had died after a battle with cancer.

“I am very sorry about my good friend, Bill Walton. I love him as a friend and teammate,” Bird wrote, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “It was a thrill for me to play with my childhood idol and together we earned an NBA Championship in 1986. He is one of the greatest ever to play the game. I am sure that all of my teammates are as grateful as I am that we were able to know Bill, he was such a joy to know and he will be sorely missed. My family and I extend our sincere condolences to the Walton family.”

Walton was 71 years old. The New York Times reported that Walton died of colon cancer, citing the NBA.

Bill Walton Won Multiple NCAA, NBA Championships & an MVP Award During His Career

Bill Walton, Larry Bird

GettyFormer Boston Celtics Bill Walton (left) and Larry Bird (right).

Walton, who stood 6-feet-11, was a two-time NCAA champion center at UCLA before joining the NBA in 1974 as the No. 1 overall pick of the Portland Trail Blazers.

He was a two-time All-Star in Portland, winning the MVP Award in the 1977-78 season. The year before, he was part of a Blazers squad that won an NBA Championship over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Foot injuries ravaged Walton’s career after that, as he missed the entirety of three of the next four seasons, playing only 14 games in the 1979-80 campaign. However, Walton found his stride again with the Celtics in 1986, playing in 80 games and winning the NBA’s 6th Man of the Year Award.

Walton appeared in just 10 games for Boston the year after winning the title alongside Bird, missed the entirety of the 1987-88 campaign with a foot injury and never played professionally after that. For his career, Walton averaged 13.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 blocks across 468 appearances.

Following his retirement, Walton carved out a niche for himself as one of the most colorful of color commentators, working broadcasts for both NCAA and NBA games over a span of several years.

His son Luke Walton also went on to play in the NBA before becoming the interim head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 2015-16, then head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings.

Celtics Can Honor Bill Walton by Sweeping Pacers, Earning Trip to NBA Finals

Jayson Tatum

GettyJayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics have the chance to honor Walton’s memory on the day of his death by completing an Eastern Conference Finals sweep of the Indiana Pacers and earning their way to the franchise’s 23rd NBA Finals appearance.

Boston will take the court at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Monday night at 8 p.m. Eastern time with a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

Bird grew up in Indiana and played college basketball for Indiana State from 1975-79. He and Walton sat court side together at the 2024 NBA All-Star Game, which was held at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in February.

Read More