Bill Walton Headshot

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is an NBA Hall of Famer, New York Times bestseller, and beloved keynote speaker known for his motivational insight and unbelievable ability to remember and connect with individual audience members.

Meet Bill Walton

As entertaining as he is insightful, Bill Walton is widely considered one of the best speakers from the world of sports. The lessons he learned from his sports, broadcasting, and business careers are applicable to every audience. Bill Walton is available to be hired for corporate and private events. He is also well-known for his keynote and motivational speaking. Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group today to inquire about Bill Walton’s fees.

Want to book Bill Walton for an event?

Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group at 215-510-6607 to hire Bill Walton for corporate or private events, keynote speeches, workshops, fireside chats, motivational speaking, or virtual appearances. Our agency will work directly with your organization and our keynote speakers to create an unforgettable event.

The Mollie Plotkin Group is the leading keynote speakers agency and entertainment bureau bringing excitement to audiences, clients, and employees. We represent subject-matter experts in every possible field, so whether we’re your partner in creating a memorable meeting, or your meeting planner’s secret weapon in securing the perfect keynote speaker, we’re in this with you.

Biography

Bill Walton’s basketball accolades begin in high school. At Helix High School, Bill 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. Following high school, Bill went to UCLA to play for the most renowned basketball coach of all time – John Wooden. Bill’s collegiate basketball accomplishments are rivaled by few other players. 

At UCLA Bill won:

  • 2 NCAA championships,
  • an NCAA record 88 consecutive games, 
  • 3 All-American honors,
  • 3 Academic All-American honors,
  • the 1973 Sullivan Award for the United States Best Amateur Athlete,
  • 3 All-Conference first-team nominations,
  • 3 consecutive Conference Player of the Year Awards,
  • and 3 consecutive NCAA Player of the Year Awards (1972-1974); 

NBA Career

After his celebrated college basketball career, the Portland Trail Blazers selected Bill Walton as the first overall pick in the 1974 NBA Draft. With the Trail Blazers, Bill would lead the team to its first and only championship in 1977. Nine years later, he earned another championship title with the Boston Celtics in 1986. His second championship with the Celtics made Bill one of only four players in basketball history to have won multiple NCAA and NBA Championships. During his career, Bill won numerous awards including:

  • 1978 NBA MVP
  • 1978 All-NBA First Team
  • 2 All-Star Team Selections (1977, 1978)
  • 2 NBA All-Defensive First Team Honors (1977, 1978)
  • 1977 All-NBA second team
  • 1977 NBA Finals MVP
  • 1986 NBA Sixth Man Award

He is the only player to have won an NBA Finals MVP, Sixth Man Award, and regular season MVP. He is also the second of only five players in NBA history to lead the league in both blocked shots and rebounding in the same season. 

Retirement

After the 1986-87 season, Walton retired from the NBA. In 1993, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. In 2021, he was selected as part of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team and named in their “75 Greatest Players in NBA History” list. The most impressive part? Bill accomplished all of this despite the numerous injuries he suffered during his career. He survived 39 orthopedic surgeries – one of which ended his career prematurely. While injuries kept him from playing more than half the games during his remarkable NBA career, pure tenacity kept him in the games he did play.

Sportscasting

After retiring from basketball, Bill pursued his dream job as a sports broadcaster. But first, he had to overcome a lifelong stuttering affliction that kept him completely quiet until he was 28 years old. Ultimately, Bill worked tirelessly to become the poignant and eloquent speaker he is today. As a broadcaster, he worked for CBS Sports in the early 90’s and then NBC for many years, including work on the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic Games. Over his career, he’s also done broadcasting work for ABC, ESPN, FOX, MSNBC, Turner Sports, KCAL, NESA, and the NBA. Bill has been nominated for numerous Emmy Awards and in 2001 won an Emmy for Best Live Sports Television Broadcast. Currently, he covers Pac-12 games for ESPN and the Pac-12 Network. 

New York Times Bestseller

In 2008, Bill Walton suffered a spinal collapse so devastating he was unable to get up. It was the culmination of a lifetime of injury, and he needed to endure a risky surgery to repair the damage done to his back early in his basketball career. From the time of his spinal collapse until his eventual recovery, he spent most of three years flat on the ground. The pain was excruciating. At times, he thought seriously about killing himself. But he survived, recovered, and wrote the New York Times bestseller Back from the Dead.

Charity

Bill is also one of the most compassionate figures in sports, with an extraordinary record of giving back through his work with numerous charities and nonprofits. For his efforts, he received the NBA Retired Players Association Humanitarian Award in 2002. He is the 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.

Hire Bill Walton Today

Bill currently resides in his hometown of San Diego with his wife Lori. Among his other ventures, he greatly enjoys traveling for keynote speaking and specifically making an impact on an organizational and individual level with the audiences he speaks with. The proof is in the testimonials gathered from his past speaking engagements. Organizations that are looking for an authentic original who personifies greatness hire Bill Walton.

How to Hire Bill Walton

Find out how to hire Bill Walton to appear at your next event. Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group to inquire about Bill Walton’s availability and cost. When hiring Bill Walton for an event, we need to know the type of venue and location the event will take place. Bill Walton is a popular choice for corporate events, private events, and virtual events. So, you can click the Check Availability button or contact us and an MPG Bill Walton booking agent will get back to you within 48 hours.

Bill Walton Booking Price

How much to book Bill Walton depends on the type of event. So, the cost to hire Bill Walton for corporate or private events is available by contacting a Mollie Plotkin Group Agent. Notably, Bill Walton is available for conferences, festivals, private parties, and events. Just contact the Mollie Plotkin Group and tell the booking agent the proposed date, time, and location.

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Fill out the form to find out when Bill Walton is available.

Upcoming Engagements

Our speakers are in high demand! View their upcoming events.

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Key Audience Takeaways

Rising to the Challenge

“Those not willing to risk going too far will never know how far they can go.” Those words from Bill Walton sum up his philosophy of life. 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 also has one of the greatest can-do attitudes you’ll ever encounter. He gives this cultivated mindset credit for helping him adapt, persevere, and ultimately succeed in challenges on and off the court. 

Named one of the “50 Greatest NBA Players of All Time,” Bill incredibly missed 9½ of his 14 NBA seasons due to injuries related to orthopedic 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. 

However, 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 loves to inspire audiences to rise to the challenge of seeing just how far they can go.

Key Takeaways:

  • Motivation to go further than you ever have before.
  • A mindset and philosophy that makes rising to the challenge easy.

What Great Coaches Taught Me About Leadership

What separates great teams from everyone else? 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. 

According 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. In fact, he never talked about winning – and rarely even mentioned the opposing team. Wooden insisted 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. Bill, 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. 

Key Takeaways:

  • An inside look at how world-class performance is achieved on the basketball court.
  • Leadership and teamwork lessons based on principles that transfer off the court.
  • The essentials of teams that rock – cooperation, friendship, loyalty, sacrifice, discipline, execution, and leadership.

Client Testimony for Bill Walton

Books

Back from the Dead

In February 2008, Bill Walton suffered a spinal collapse so devastating he was unable to get up. It was the culmination of a lifetime of injury. Although Walton had played fourteen seasons in the NBA, he actually missed more games than he played during those years due to injury. From the time of his spinal collapse until his eventual recovery, he spent most of three years flat on the ground. The pain was excruciating, and he thought seriously about killing himself. But he survived, and Back from the Dead is the story of his injury and recovery, set in the context of his amazing athletic career.Walton grew up in southern California in the 1950s and was deeply influenced by the political and cultural upheavals of the 1960s. Although Walton identified strongly with the counterculture, especially in music, the greatest influence on him outside his family was Coach John Wooden, a thoughtful, precise mentor who seemed immune to the turmoil of the times. The two men would speak every day for forty-three years until Wooden’s death at age ninety-nine.John Wooden once said that no greatness ever came without sacrifice. In this “frequently stirring memoir…Walton’s love for life and the people and things in it—including his college coach, John Wooden—is infectious. You can’t stop reading, or rooting for the man” (Publishers Weekly). Back from the Dead shares his dramatic story, including his basketball and broadcasting careers, his many setbacks and rebounds, and his ultimate triumph as the toughest of champions. “[Walton] scores another basket—a deeply personal one.” (Kirkus Reviews)

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