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Get to know the power of positive

Bill Walton

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Basketball legend, broadcaster and humanitarian renowned as one of the best speakers from the world of sports

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As entertaining as he is insightful, speaker Bill Walton is renowned as one of the best speakers from the world of sports. As a speaker Bill Walton brings passion to the stage and inspires audiences with tales from an improbable life in sport and beyond.

Learn the secrets of world-class performance, as well as personal and organizational excellence. Through the story of how Bill overcame nearly impossible odds – on the court and off – to persevere and win.

The lessons Bill learned on the basketball court became life lessons that served him well throughout his sports, broadcasting and business careers.

Do your best.” – John Wooden, Bill’s basketball coach at UCLA

No lesson has been more important to Bill in his life than this one. He was hugely affected by his coach’s mindset that the players should simply to do their best and not beat themselves.

Following a celebrated college basketball career, Walton went on to have a Hall of Fame NBA career. After basketball, Walton pursued his dream job as a sports broadcaster – but first had to overcome the lifelong stuttering affliction. Then, in 2008, Walton endured risky back surgery for to repair damage done early in his basketball career. Through it all, Walton’s determination carried him through.

 

Speaker Bill Walton’s Basketball Career

 

Most-injured player in NBA history; embodies grit and resilience. Journeyed through despair and 37 surgeries to ultimately triumph
● One of most recognizable sports figures; named to “50 Greatest NBA Players of All-Time” list; Basketball Hall of Fame member
● Played for two NBA Championship teams – Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics

While going to Helix high school, Walton became the first and only high school player to ever make the U.S.A. Senior Men’s National Basketball Team and play in the World Championship and/or Olympics. He enrolled at UCLA in 1970. Among his many achievements during his university years, speaker Bill Walton was a member of two NCAA championship teams compiling an NCAA record 88 consecutive game winning streak. In 1972, ’73, and ’74 Walton was named NCAA Player of the Year Award.

At UCLA, Walton was both a scholar and an athlete. He earned Academic All-American honors three years in a row. Graduating with honors with a B.A. in history. In addition, during the early 1980’s Walton attended Stanford University Graduate School of Law.

Walton’s professional career began when he was the number one overall pick in the 1974 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers. He was a member of their championship team in 1977. Nine years later he earned another championship title, this time with the Boston Celtics in 1986. He played with the Trailblazers 1974-1979, the San Diego Clippers 1979-1984, the relocated Los Angeles Clippers in 1985 and The Boston Celtics 1985-1988.

Walton is one of only four players in the history of basketball to have won multiple NCAA and multiple NBA Championships. Walton is also the second of only five players in the history of the NBA to lead the league in both blocked shots and rebounding in the same season. In 1991 Walton received the NBPA’s Oscar Robertson Leadership Awards.

In 1993 Walton was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.  In 1997 Walton was selected as one of the NBA’s Fifty Greatest Players of All Time. Also in 1997 Walton was inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Love of sports runs in the Walton family.  Bill and his older brother Bruce (UCLA 1973) are the only brother combination in history to have played in the Super Bowl and to have won an NBA Championship. Bill and his third son Luke is only the third father/son pairing to have ever won NBA Championships. They are also the only father/son combination in history to have each won multiple NBA Championships.

 

Speaker Bill Walton’s Broadcasting Career

 

● Overcame lifelong stuttering affliction to pursue broadcasting – currently covering Pac12 games on ESPN

After retiring from basketball, in 1990 Bill started as an analyst for the then Prime Ticket Network. He worked for CBS Sports in the early 90’s and then for NBC for many years, including work on the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic Games. Over his career he has also done broadcasting work for ABC, ESPN, FOX, MSNBC, Turner Sports, KCAL, NESA and the NBA.

Walton has been nominated for numerous Emmy Awards and in 2001 won an Emmy for Best Live Sports Television Broadcast.  The southern California Sports Broadcasters Association has several times honored Walton with the Best Television Analyst/Commentator Award. In 2009, Walton was named one of the top 50 sports broadcasters of all time by the American Sportscasters Association.

 

Humanitarian

 

Bill Walton is an authentic and true original who personifies greatness and is one of the most compassionate figures in sport with an extraordinary record of giving back through his work with numerous charities and non-profits.

Walton is active with many organizations and charities. For his efforts, in 2002 he received the NBA Retired Players Association Humanitarian Award.  He is executive chairman of Connect SD Sport Innovators (SDSI), a non-profit, business-accelerating, trade organization that connects and drives the growth of Southern California’s vibrant sports economy by offering innovative programs and services for startups, mature companies and service providers. Walton is also a board member for the Junior Seau foundation. Walton is also involved in numerous Internet ventures, providing content and business acumen.

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    Speaker Bill Walton Keynote Topics

     

    Keynote by Speaker Bill Walton

    THE POWER OF POSITIVE

    At 6’ 11” in his Grateful Dead tie-dyed t-shirt, Bill Walton is one of the most recognizable and colorful sports legends ever.  He’s also among the most upbeat and positive people you’ll ever meet. It’s a mindset he’s cultivated and credits for his ability to adapt, persevere, and ultimately succeed in his challenges on and off the court.  Named one of “50 Greatest NBA Players of All Time,” Bill incredibly missed 9½ of his 14 NBA seasons due to injuries related to undiagnosed congenital foot problems. Despite that, his achievements on the court were enormous.

    When his storied career ended with his 30th surgery, Bill’s dream was to pursue sports broadcasting. One problem: a severe lifelong stutter that prevented him from even saying a simple “thank you.”  Undeterred, Bill set about the task of learning to speak.  He conquered stuttering and found a place behind the mic – earning numerous awards and honors since. Bill’s greatest test came in 2007 when severe back pain confined him to the floor of his home for 2½ years.  Finally relenting to surgery in 2009, the grueling rehab and recovery from that 37th surgery could well be Bill’s biggest achievement.  

    While Bill exclaims regularly, “I’m the luckiest guy on Earth,” it’s clear his outlook on life helped create that luck.  Bill Walton loves to inspire audiences with tales about the power of positive.

     

    Keynote by Speaker Bill Walton

    LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM THE HARDWOOD

    Basketball icon Bill Walton was part of legendary college and NBA championship teams: UCLA, the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers.  He was also part of the last place San Diego Clippers. To Bill, the difference between winning and losing was leadership. The best coaches knew how to get the best out of their players.  

    In Bill’s career no one was better than legendary UCLA coach John Wooden. An English teacher who coached on the side for extra money, Wooden focused on the fundamentals. He never talked about winning – and rarely even mentioned the opposing team.  Wooden did insist that players work together, not be selfish, execute flawlessly, and be accountable for doing their best. Armed with that approach Wooden went on to win 88 consecutive games (a men’s collegiate record which still stands) and ten national championships.   

    Speaker Bill Walton, the consummate storyteller, shares tales that are as insightful as they are entertaining – about lessons of leadership he learned from John Wooden, Red Auerbach, Jack Ramsey, and others during his storied career. Walton provides an inside look at how world-class performance is really achieved on the basketball court – leadership and teamwork lessons based on principles that transfer off the court, too.   

     

    Keynote by Speaker Bill Walton

    WHY WINNING TEAMS WIN

    What’s the secret to team success? Basketball legend Bill Walton has a lot to say on that topic and he speaks from experience.  Bill played on two championship teams under the revered UCLA coach John Wooden. Bill’s teams contributed to the Bruins’ 88-game winning streak, still the record in men’s basketball more than 40 years later.  Bill was also a two-time NBA champion; with the Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics. Of course, it’s not possible to appreciate great teamwork unless you’ve seen the other side of that coin and Bill experienced that as well during his time with the San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers.  That experience gave him a strong understanding of the building blocks necessary for great teams to develop and function.

    After Bill’s playing days ended, broadcasting offered him the perfect perch from which to watch extraordinary teams perform. Throughout his business endeavors, Bill applied the teamwork lessons he learned from sports with astonishing success.  

    In this keynote speech, Bill talks about the essentials of successful teams – cooperation, friendship, loyalty, sacrifice, discipline, and leadership – with humorous and revealing anecdotes. As one of the most colorful characters from the sports world, Bill Walton delivers an inspiring message for teams looking to take their organizations to the next level.

     

    Keynote by Speaker Bill Walton

    TALES OF INJURY, REHABILITATION, AND RECOVERY

    After 37 surgeries, basketball superstar Bill Walton knows a thing or two about sports injuries and sports injury rehabilitation.  He has the dubious distinction of being the most-injured player in NBA history.  In his 14-year pro career Bill missed a total of 9½ full seasons due to injury.  Even so, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and won numerous awards and honors for his brilliant play.  Imagine his impact on the game had he stayed healthy! Bill’s feet, knees, and back – the foundation of his ability to perform as an athlete – let him down.   His most serious surgery was to straighten his spine after spending 2½ years on the floor of his home in agonizing pain – literally unable to move and contemplating suicide. 

    Now back in the game of life, Bill remains active on his bike – participating in several week-long charity biking events for groups like Challenged Athletes Foundation. He also speaks to audiences of patients, health care professionals, and those from allied fields – delivering an authentic and inspiring message about his own healing and sports injury rehabilitation.

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Keynote topics with Bill Walton