Bill Walton Dead: Wanted Legalization of Sports Betting

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
May/27/2024

The great Bill Walton has died at the age of 71 following a cancer battle.

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The NBA Hall of Famer was later known in life as a beloved commentator for the game.

He was the NBA’s MVP in the 1977-78 season, a two-time champion as a player and a member of both the NBA’s 50th anniversary and 75th anniversary teams. That all followed a college career in which he was a two-time champion at UCLA and a three-time national player of the year.

“Bill Walton,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, “was truly one of a kind.”

Walton, who was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1993, was larger than life, on the court and off.

His most famous game was the 1973 NCAA title game, UCLA against Memphis, in which he shot an incredible 21 for 22 from the field and led the Bruins to another national championship.

In 2015, Walton discussed how sports betting needed to come out of the shadows.  Three year's later it would when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned prohibition against the activity.

At the time, the NBA was already aligned with FanDuel through its daily fantasy sports business. 

Walton explained how that business model helped him to better understand the individual players.

“Growing up in San Diego where I still live, Little Billy with his red hair and freckles and tremendous speech impediment I dreamed about the NBA, I dreamed about the players I dreamed about playing against them, I dreamed about playing with them, it drove everything in my life and the ability of what the opportunities like FanDuel create is to get people closer to players,” he said.

And at the time, the NBA was dead set against any type of legalized sports gambling.  Oh how things have changed.

“These are public policies issues and we are moving in that direction,” he said, pointing to the large amounts of people who participated in March Madness brackets," Walton said back then… "This is becoming mainstream and I want the regulation and the taxation. I want this to be coming out of the shadows as this moves into the mainstream part of our lives.”

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