William Theodore Walton III (born November 5, 1952) is an American former basketball player who is a television sportscaster.
Walton played for John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins, winning three successive National college player of the year awards (1972–1974), while leading UCLA to NCAA championships in 1972 and 1973 and an 88-game winning streak. After being selected as the first overall pick in the 1974 NBA draft, Walton led the Portland Trail Blazers to the NBA Championship in 1977, earning the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award that season. Walton won another NBA title, playing with the Boston Celtics in 1986. Walton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
His early career in the National Basketball Association (NBA) was very successful, winning the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) and an NBA championship with the Portland Trail Blazers, for which he was also named Finals MVP. However, his professional career began to be significantly hampered by multiple foot injuries requiring numerous surgeries. Walton sat out the 1978-79 season and was then signed by the San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers, for whom he played injury-plagued four seasons. His career was rehabilitated during two seasons with the Boston Celtics at the end of his career. Playing as a back-up center behind Robert Parish, Walton earned the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award in the 1985-86 season, winning his second championship that same season.After retiring from the NBA, Walton overcame stuttering and embarked on a second career as a sportscaster, working both as a studio analyst and color commentator, mostly for ESPN, with stints for several other networks and teams. He earned an Emmy Award in 1991. Walton is a noted fan of the Grateful Dead, as a self described “Deadhead”, who often mentions them in his broadcasts. He has hosted several podcasts and satellite radio programs featuring the music of the Grateful Dead.