bill walton [608x342]
bill walton [608x342] (Credit: (Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images))

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On Monday afternoon legendary basketball player and commentator Bill Walton died at 71 years old after a prolonged battle with cancer.

Walton wore a number of hats across a lengthy career in the sports world. He first rose to acclaim as a key piece in John Wooden's UCLA Bruins dynasty, winning two national championships. Walton helped the Bruins amass 88 consecutive wins -- a men's college basketball record -- across his sophomore, junior and senior seasons in Westwood.

Selected with the the top pick in the 1974 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, Walton's success would translate to the professional ranks. He'd win a pair of titles -- with the Trail Blazers in 1977 and Boston Celtics in 1986 -- as part of a Hall of Fame career. Walton was the league's MVP in 1977-78 and Sixth Man of the Year in 1985-86.

Following his retirement, Walton would make the transition to the broadcast booth, calling NBA games as a lead analyst for ESPN and ABC. He transitioned to college basketball in 2012. As a broadcaster, he quickly rose to acclaim for his lighthearted storytelling and passionate advocacy for the "conference of champions" -- the Pac-12.

The sports world paid tribute to Walton on social media.

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