Bill Walton Net Worth 2024, Biography, Age, Height

By Alice Moreno

Bill Walton, also known by his real name William Theodore Walton III, was born on November 5, 1952, which makes him 70 years old. He came from La Mesa, California, U.S., and is widely recognized in the world of basketball. Throughout his career, Walton was known by several nicknames, including Big Red, Grateful Red, Red Baron, Redwood, and Chief.

Standing tall at 7 ft 2 in and weighing 210 lb, Walton made a significant impact as a Center in the basketball world. He debuted professionally on October 18, 1974, after being the 1st overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 1974 draft. His playing career, spanning ten years, saw him achieving an average of 13.3 points per game (PPG), 10.5 rebounds per game (RPG), and 2.2 assists per game (APG).

Bill is not only recognized for his skills on the court but also for his financial success. His net worth stands at an impressive $20 million, with career earnings of $3 million. He was also a face for brands like Nike and LA Gear through endorsement deals.

In his personal life, Walton shares his journey with his wife, Lori Walton, and their four children. He was born to parents William Theodore Walton and Gloria Anne and has three siblings: Bruce, Cathy, and Andy Walton. Walton has left a significant mark in the basketball kingdom, with his legacy living on through his remarkable career and family.

Quick Facts About Bill Walton

NameBill Walton
Real NameWilliam Theodore Walton III
NicknameBig Red, Grateful Red, Red Baron, Redwood, Chief
Birth70 (November 5, 1952)
BirthplaceLa Mesa, California, U.S.
Weight210 lb (95 kg)
Height7 ft 2 in (2.18 m)
ProfessionAmerican Basketball Player (retd.)
Debut DateOctober 18, 1974
Draft1974: 1st round, 1st overall pick (Portland Trail Blazers)
PositionCenter
ShootsRights
Jersey Number32, 5
PPG13.3
RPG10.5
APG2.2
Experience10 years
Net Worth$20 million
EndorsementsNike, LA Gear
Career Earnings$3 million
FatherWilliam Theodore Walton
MotherGloria Anne 
SiblingsBruce Walton, Cathy Walton and Andy Walton
Marital StatusLori Walton
Children4

Bill Walton Biography

William Theodore Walton III is notably 70 years old and is widely recognized for his profession as an American basketball player, now retired.

In the 1985-86 season, Walton not only earned the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award but also celebrated winning his second championship during the same season. His journey in basketball saw him claiming another NBA title in 1986, this time as a pivotal member of the Boston Celtics.

Walton’s contributions to the sport were formally recognized when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. His legacy was further cemented by being named to both the NBA’s 50th and 75th-anniversary teams, underscoring his significant impact on the sport of basketball.

Bill Walton Net Worth

Bill Walton Net Worth

Bill Walton has accumulated a substantial net worth over his career, currently estimated at $20 million. 

This wealth comes not only from his successful basketball career but also from various other ventures and investments.

During his basketball career alone, Walton earned around $3 million. These earnings were significantly bolstered through his numerous endorsement deals, such as Nike and LA Gear.

Estimated Career Earnings

SeasonTeamLeagueSalary
1984-85Los Angeles ClippersNBA$1,350,000
1985-86Boston CelticsNBA$425,000
1986-87Boston CelticsNBA$425,000
1987-88Boston CelticsNBA$425,000

Source: Basketball-Reference

Bill Walton Early Life

Bill Walton, with a listed playing height of 6 ft 11 in, initiated his journey in basketball at a young age. His first experience with organized basketball was under the guidance of Coach Frank “Rocky” Graciano at his Catholic elementary school. 

Despite being a “skinny, scrawny guy” who stuttered and was shy and reserved, Walton found solace and a “safe place” in the sport of basketball. Coach Graciano emphasized the joy of playing the team game, which resonated with Walton.

Walton’s college basketball career was notably thriving. Playing for coach John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins, he secured three consecutive national College Player of the Year awards from 1972 to 1974. His leadership and skill on the court also led UCLA to secure NCAA championships in 1972 and 1973 and maintain an impressive 88-game winning streak.

Upon being selected as the first overall pick in the 1974 NBA draft, Walton continued to demonstrate his exceptional skill in the NBA. He led the Portland Trail Blazers to an NBA championship in 1977, earning himself the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award that season. His early NBA career was adorned with accolades, including winning the 1978 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) and securing another NBA championship with the Trail Blazers, for which he was also named Finals MVP. 

Bill Walton Career

Bill Walton Career

Bill Walton’s basketball journey began impressively at Helix High School in La Mesa, where he played alongside his brother Bruce. Bruce, being a robust football player and a year older than Bill, often protected him during games, ensuring that physical treatments were reciprocated. Bruce even went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys, and together, they became the only brother duo in history to play in both the Super Bowl and win an NBA championship.

Injuries and physical struggles were a part of Walton’s career from the start. Even in his high school days at Helix, he experienced numerous injuries, including a broken ankle and leg, several broken bones in his feet, and he also underwent knee surgery. Before his sophomore season, he underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, which resulted in him playing mostly on the junior varsity team for that year.

Walton experienced a significant growth spurt during his sophomore year, growing from 6 ft 1 in to 6 ft 7 in. Despite his height, his slender and frail frame didn’t allow him to play a complete game without needing rest, as recalled by his coach, Gordon Nash.

In an intriguing twist in 1967, the NBA expansion San Diego Rockets, who had no set practice facility, often played at Helix High School. Walton, having a key to the gym, would often receive calls from Rocket players, such as Elvin Hayes, to gain access to the gym. 

Walton formed friendships with several of the Rockets players, including notables like Pat Riley, Rick Adelman, Rudy Tomjanovich, Jim Barnett, and Stu Lantz, who treated “little Billy” as one of their own, forging bonds that Walton cherishes to this day. 

Bill Walton, towering at about 7 ft 0 in upon his high school graduation, significantly impacted Helix High School’s basketball success, leading them to 49 consecutive victories and two California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Championships in 1969 and 1970. 

Walton, who averaged 29 points and 25 rebounds, set an enduring national record by making 78.3% of his shot attempts during his senior year in 1969–70. His rebounding skills also earned him a spot in the all-time rankings. His exemplary performance was nationally recognized in Sports Illustrated in 1970. 

Walton fondly reminisced about his time at Helix, valuing his teammates Monroe Nash, Wilbur Strong, Phil Edwards, and Bruce Menser. Hall of Fame Coach Denny Crum, who scouted Walton in high school, declared him the best high school player he’d ever seen, paving Walton’s way into a stellar career at UCLA under Coach John Wooden.

Bill Walton, a dedicated follower of UCLA’s basketball team since his early school days, immediately accepted UCLA’s scholarship offer, eager to play under Coach John Wooden, who would become a lifelong mentor. 

Walton, who humorously described himself as Wooden’s “worst nightmare,” led the Bruins to two consecutive 30–0 seasons and a record 88-game winning streak. The streak extended a personal winning period from his junior high school year to his senior college year, where none of his teams lost a game. 

With Walton’s pivotal contributions, UCLA clinched the NCAA Championship in both 1972 and 1973, with Walton delivering a standout performance in the latter, scoring 44 points with 21 of 22 field-goal attempts. His collegiate journey was not just a sporting adventure but also a relationship-building time with Coach Wooden, whom he tried to honor throughout his life.

Bill Walton, selected for the 1972 U.S. Olympic basketball team, declined participation. While some speculated this was a political protest due to his anti-Vietnam War stance, Walton’s decision was likely influenced by negative coaching experiences in the 1970 World Championships. The U.S. team faced a controversial loss to the Soviet Union in the final, finishing second. 

Walton’s absence was notable; Russian sports historian Robert Edelman and U.S. team forward James Forbes highlighted that having Walton on the team might have significantly altered the outcome, underscoring his impact as a player.

Bill Walton’s remarkable performances in the 1973 NCAA tournament significantly contributed to UCLA’s victories. In the tournament, they bested Arizona State and San Francisco to reach the Final Four, with Walton delivering standout games. In a memorable matchup against Indiana, coached by Hall of Fame inductee Bob Knight, Walton contributed 14 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists, securing a 70–59 victory for the Bruins.

His record-breaking performance came in the 1973 NCAA title game against Memphis State, where he scored 44 points, a record that still stands, leading UCLA to a decisive 87–66 victory and their seventh consecutive title.

In 1974, the San Diego Conquistadors of the ABA attempted to entice Bill Walton to join them, even drafting him in the 1974 ABA draft and signing Wilt Chamberlain as a player-coach to sweeten the deal. Despite these efforts and potential incentives, Walton remained unswayed and did not sign with the Conquistadors.

After the 1984–85 NBA season, Bill Walton approached two leading teams, the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, exploring his next career move. The Celtics’ players expressed interest in having Walton join them, and thus, Red Auerbach facilitated the deal. 

A notable incident highlighting Walton’s choice of the Celtics involves Larry Bird. When Walton called Auerbach’s office, and Bird happened to be present, Bird simply expressed trust in Walton’s health, contrasting Lakers GM Jerry West, who sought medical assurances before considering Walton. This trust possibly swayed Walton towards choosing the Celtics.

In the 1986 NBA Finals, Bill Walton and the Boston Celtics faced the Houston Rockets, including “Twin Towers” Hakeem Olajuwon. The Celtics triumphed 4–2, winning the NBA Championship. 

At age 33, Bill Walton experienced his first NBA playoffs in nearly a decade during the 1986 season. Providing support behind McHale and Parish, Walton averaged 6.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 2.0 blocks in 19 minutes per game. 

The Celtics achieved a 3–0 sweep in the Eastern Conference first round against the Chicago Bulls, despite Michael Jordan‘s impressive average of 43.7 points per series. Walton’s contributions were pivotal in advancing the Celtics through the playoffs.

Bill Walton Jersey Number

YearTeamJersey Number
1975–1980Portland Trail Blazers#32
1980–1983San Diego Clippers#32
1984San Diego Clippers#32
1985Los Angeles Clippers#32
1986–1987Boston Celtics#5

Career Stats

SEASONSTMGPGSMPGPPGRPGAPGSPGBPGTPGFG%3P%FT%DD2TD3
1974-75POR352832.912.812.64.80.82.751.368.6241
1975-76POR514233.116.113.44.311.647.158.3352
1976-77POR656534.818.614.43.813.252.869.7530
1977-78POR585833.318.913.2512.53.652.272502
1979-80SDC1424.113.992.40.62.72.650.359.360
1982-83SDC333233.314.19.83.613.63.252.855.6150
1983-84SDC554626.812.18.73.30.81.63.255.6059.7170
1984-85LAC673724.610.192.30.72.12.652.1068230
1985-86BOS80219.37.66.82.10.51.31.956.271.390
1986-87BOS10011.22.83.10.90.111.538.553.300
Career Regular46828.313.310.53.40.82.22.752.10662325
Career Playoffs4924.410.89.130.71.71.252.5067.3211

Source: StatMuse

Transactions

DateTransactions
May 28, 1974Drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1st round (1st pick) of the 1974 NBA Draft.
May 13, 1979Signed as a veteran free agent with the San Diego Clippers; the Portland Trail Blazers received Kevin Kunnert, Kermit Washington and a 1980 1st round draft pick (Mike Gminski was later selected) as compensation.
September 6, 1985Traded by the Los Angeles Clippers to the Boston Celtics for Cedric Maxwell and a 1986 1st round draft pick (Arvydas Sabonis was later selected).

Source: Basketball-Reference.com

Bill Walton Post Retirement

Bill Walton, after a laudable career in the NBA, embraced retirement and subsequently embarked on a second career as a sportscaster. Despite personal challenges, such as overcoming stuttering, he has worked both as a studio analyst and color commentator, contributing to several networks and teams.

In 1991, Walton’s efforts as a sportscaster were recognized when he earned an Emmy Award, showcasing his versatility and capability in his second career. Beyond his professional pursuits, Walton is notably a fan of the Grateful Dead and identifies as a “Deadhead.” His admiration for the band often permeates into his broadcasts, where he frequently mentions them.

Walton has also hosted several podcasts and satellite radio programs, primarily featuring the music of the Grateful Dead, further intertwining his professional and personal interests in a harmonious blend post-retirement.

Bill Walton Media career

BroadcastsYears
NBA On CBS1990
NCAA on CBS1991
NBA On NBC1990–2002
Los Angeles Clippers1990–2002
NBA On ABC/NBA On ESPN2002–2009
Sacramento Kings2010-2012

Bill Walton Awards, Records, and Honors

  • No. 32 retired by Portland Trail Blazers
  • NBA anniversary team (50th, 75th)
  • No. 32 retired by UCLA Bruins
AwardsYears
2× NBA champion1977, 1986
NBA Finals MVP1977
NBA Most Valuable Player1978
2× NBA All-Star1977, 1978
All-NBA First Team1978
All-NBA Second Team1977
2× NBA All-Defensive First Team1977, 1978
NBA Sixth Man of the Year1986
NBA rebounding leader1977
NBA blocks leader1977
2× NCAA champion1972, 1973
2× NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player1972, 1973
3× National college player of the year1972–1974
3× Consensus first-team All-American1972–1974

Bill Walton Family

Bill Walton grew up in La Mesa, California, as the son of Gloria Anne and William Theodore “Ted” Walton. Alongside his siblings Bruce, Cathy, and Andy, Walton spent his childhood in a hillside home on Colorado Avenue, nestled just below Lake Murray.

His father, Ted, worked as a music teacher and social worker, while his mother, Gloria, was a librarian. The Walton parents held strong interests in art, literature, politics, and music, which they shared with their children. Bill took music lessons during his childhood, and even though his parents did not have a strong inclination towards sports, he found himself following his older brother Bruce towards a sporting path.

The Walton family was also musically inclined, forming an informal family band when the children were in junior high and high school. In this familial ensemble, Bruce and Bill played the trombone or baritone, Andy played the saxophone, and Cathy played the flute, showcasing a harmonious blend of their interests and talents.

Bill Walton Personal Life

Bill Walton, a notable name in basketball, has an enriched personal life alongside his celebrated career. He resides in San Diego with his wife, Lori. His first marriage to Susie bore them four sons: Adam, Nathan, Luke, and Chris, all of whom have pursued varied career paths from basketball coaching to the corporate world. Walton has battled severe ankle issues, leading to both ankles being surgically fused, and he underwent a significant spinal fusion surgery in 2009. A devoted vegetarian and meditation practitioner, Walton is also an avid fan of bands like the Grateful Dead and maintains friendships with significant personalities like Coach John Wooden. Walton’s family, too, holds noteworthy mentions in sports, with his brother Bruce having an NFL career and his sister Cathy being a skilled youth swimmer. Walton’s journey also highlights a conscientious side, reflecting choices like his vegetarian lifestyle and a lifelong friendship with his mentor, Coach Wooden.

Bill Walton’s son, Luke Walton, has made a name for himself both as a player and a coach in the NBA. Winning NBA championships in 2009 and 2010 with the Los Angeles Lakers, Luke and Bill became the first father-son duo to win multiple NBA championships. Post his playing career, Luke transitioned into coaching, serving as the head coach for the Lakers from 2016 to 2019 and later taking up the role of head coach for the Sacramento Kings in April 2019. Named after Maurice Lucas, Bill’s friend, and former teammate, Luke has carried the Walton legacy forward in the NBA, reflecting not just the athletic prowess but also the values and mentorship that have been a crucial part of the Walton family narrative.

Bill Walton Education

Bill Walton pursued his high school education at Helix High School, located in his hometown of La Mesa, California. His time in high school was notable, particularly as it was during these years that his talent in basketball became increasingly apparent.

Following his high school years, Walton chose to attend the University of California, Los Angeles, commonly known as UCLA. At UCLA, his basketball career flourished under the guidance of the esteemed coach John Wooden. Walton’s time in college was marked by remarkable achievements in basketball, including leading the UCLA Bruins to several victories and championships.

Conclusion

Bill Walton, with a commendable history in basketball and broadcasting, has made a lasting impact in both arenas. From his early days in La Mesa, California, through a distinguished basketball career at UCLA and into the professional leagues, Walton has exhibited exemplary skill and leadership. His subsequent career as a sportscaster, overcoming personal challenges and earning an Emmy, speaks to his versatility and resilience.

Known not only for his achievements in sports but also for his endeavors in broadcasting and his notable affinity for the Grateful Dead, Walton’s journey is multifaceted and inspiring. His legacy, encapsulating triumphs, challenges, and a continued presence in the world of sports and media, tells the story of a man who has consistently found success and personal fulfillment through various stages of his life. Walton’s life story is a rich tapestry of athletic achievement, personal development, and a ceaseless passion for his interests and pursuits.

FAQs

Is Bill Walton still a vegetarian?

Bill Walton has been known to practice a vegetarian lifestyle. He is a notable vegetarian athlete. His diet, which includes items like yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts, cereal, raisins, seeds, and honey, reflects his conscious choice toward a vegetarian lifestyle. 

When did Bill Walton retire from the NBA?

Bill Walton retired from the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1987. Multiple injuries notably hampered his career, but despite that, he managed to leave a significant impact on the league. 

Alice Moreno
About the author

Hi, I'm Alice Moreno. I've been writing about celebrities since 2005. I love sharing stories about famous people and finding out how much they're worth. I studied Journalism and enjoy digging for facts to make sure everything I write is true.

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