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NBA Finals: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks honor Bill Walton before Game 1

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The Boston Celtics honored the late Bill Walton ahead of Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. There was a tribute video and moment of silence at TD Garden, and players wore special Nike warmup shirts with his name written in tie dye to represent the basketball legend’s iconic style.

Walton passed away on May 27 at age 71 after a battle with cancer. Since then, many in the basketball world at the college and professional levels have honored him in multiple ways.

The Grateful Dead superfan and Pac-12 aficionado played for UCLA from 1971-74 before being selected No. 1 overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1974 NBA Draft. He won a championship with them in 1997, and later he spent some years with the Clippers. Walton wrapped up his career with the Celtics, with whom he won another championship in 1986. 

His No. 32 jersey has already been retired by UCLA and the Trail Blazers. Walton changed his jersey to No. 5 when he played for the Celtics. After the NBA, Walton had a successful career as a broadcaster with CBS, NBC, ABC and ESPN.

The beloved sports and media figure got plenty of cheers from the crowd at TD Garden on Thursday. While the Walton warmup shirts were just for Boston players, fans in attendance for Game 1 received Walton tie dye pins.

“Bill Walton was truly one of a kind. As a Hall of Fame player, he redefined the center position,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver when Walton passed away. “… But what I will remember most about him was his zest for life.”

Silver said Watson’s wife Lori, would be in attendance for Game 1 along with their four sons, Adam, Nathan, Luke and Chris. Indeed, the Walton family was in attendance, and they were also wearing the commemorative shirts. 

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