NBA Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Pays Tribute to Bill Walton: ‘He Was The Best of Us’

NBA Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Pays Tribute to Bill Walton: ‘He Was The Best of Us’

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shared a touching tribute to a fellow UCLA product Bill Walton, who died at 71 on Monday.

Abdul-Jabbar honored the NBA Hall of Famer on social media, praising him not only as a player, but as a person.

“My very close friend, fellow Bruin and NBA rival Bill Walton died today,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “And the world feels so much heavier now. On the court, Bill was a fierce player, but off the court he wasn’t happy unless he did everything he could to make everyone around him happy. He was the best of us.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar @kaj33

Today I had to say goodbye to <br>a great friend that I will always miss….<a href=””>@UCLAAthletics</a> <a href=””>@UCLAMBB</a> <a href=””>@NBA</a> <a href=””></a>

Though Walton and Abdul-Jabbar never played together at UCLA, both are cemented as Bruins legends. Abdul-Jabbar played at UCLA from 1966 to 1969 while Walton was there from 1971 to 1974, both playing under head legendary coach John Wooden. Abdul-Jabbar helped lead the Bruins to three championships while Walton won two during his time.

Walton went on to have a storied NBA career, winning a pair of championships—one with the Portland Trailblazers and the other with the Boston Celtics. He was named Finals MVP in 1977 with Portland before winning NBA MVP the following season.

Across 10 NBA seasons, Walton averaged 13.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.

Walton followed his NBA career with a legendary broadcasting career. He began working for CBS in 1990 as a color commentator for college basketball games and went on to work for NBC, the Los Angeles Clippers, ESPN and more.

Abdul-Jabbar’s words toward his friend echo many other sentiments toward Walton from the basketball community on Monday.

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