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Bill Walton        

Basketball Legend, Executive Chairman of Connect SD Sport Innovators (SDSI)

Bill Walton’s professional career began when he was the number one over all 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 now the Executive Chairman of Connect SD Sport Innovators (SDSI), a dynamic non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating businesses within Southern California's thriving sports economy. At SDSI, Walton spearheads initiatives that foster innovation and drive growth for startups, established companies, and service providers alike. Through innovative programs and services, SDSI offers mentoring, education, and access to capital funding for startups, while facilitating collaboration, technological advancement, and public policy advocacy for established firms. Additionally, SDSI serves as a conduit for deal flow to service providers and the broader Southern California Investment Community.

Beyond his role at SDSI, Walton serves as a board member for the Junior Seau Foundation, furthering his commitment to community engagement and philanthropy.

Walton, a proud native of San Diego, resides in his hometown with his wife Lori. Together, they cherish their roles as parents to four sons: Adam, Nathan, Luke, and Chris. They delight in their status as grandparents to Olivia, Avery Rose, and Chase, finding joy in family bonds and the shared experiences of life.

Speech Topics


Disappointment and troubles are a part of life. But whatever happens to us - remaining joyful is a choice. Bill Walton knows something about that topic. 39 orthopedic surgeries, half his NBA career spent on the injured list, unable to utter two words together without stuttering until he was 28, overcoming that lifelong stutter in order to pursue his dream career of sports broadcaster…it’s been quite a journey for Bill. He could have lost hope but the famed humanitarian and Deadhead (over 1,200 shows seen) is a man who lives by the mantra – “things work out best for people who make the best of the way things work out.” Bill inspires audiences to keep perspective and cultivate the habit of finding joy in the simple things. In fact, his story of resilience and positivity is the theme of the multi-episode ESPN 30 for 30 bio documentary called 'The Luckiest Guy in the World.' Audiences will walk away feeling inspired by Bill's example and motivated to choose joy in their own lives, no matter what life throws their way.


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.

Tales of Healing and Recovery

Bill Walton is the most-injured player in NBA history. In his 14-year career he missed a total of 9 1/2 full seasons due to injury. In spite of that, he went on to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Imagine what influence he would have had 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. 37 surgeries! His last surgery was his most serious — to straighten a lifetime of abuse to his spine. Leading up to that surgery Bill spent three years on the floor of his home in agonizing pain – virtually unable to move. Bill speaks to health care audiences of all sorts and reminds them of the tremendous difference they make in the lives of patients, like him. Bill has also spoken to spinal patient groups to offer hope for the future. Bill’s uplifting story of triumph against the odds is an inspiration to all. As Bill says about his life – “I am the luckiest guy on earth.”

Leadership Lessons From The Court

Bill Walton played for some of the greatest coaches in basketball – Red Auerbach, Jack Ramsay and the legendary John Wooden. Then, Walton’s broadcasting career allowed him the chance to see great championship performers and coaches in action. The consummate storyteller, Bill shares tales that are as insightful as they are entertaining – he provides an inside look at how world-class performance is really achieved on the basketball court. The leadership lessons are based on important principles that transfer off the court, too.

Do Your Best

Three words drive Bill Walton’s philosophy of life – do your best. They were drawn from the legendary John Wooden, Bill’s basketball coach at UCLA, who never asked the players on his record-breaking teams to win – only to go out and do their best and not beat themselves. The lessons of Coach Wooden – about character, work ethic, teamwork, accountability, and pride for a job well done – stuck with Walton his whole life – on the court, in the broadcast booth and beyond. Bill Walton inspires people to do their best with incredible stories from an improbable and remarkable life.


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Bill Walton, Old Einhorn Enemy, Makes a Comeback With Trump Role
Einhorn Enemy Bill Walton Makes a Comeback With Trump. Bill Walton was at the top of Washington's finance establishment when he ran Allied Capital Corp.
Bill Walton's Long, Strange Tale of N.B.A. Survival - The New York ...
Bill Walton Credit Graeme Mitchell for The New York Times ... Bill Walton arrived at the San Diego Natural History Museum carrying a large black chair.
Unbelievable: Bill Walton to call College Football Playoff on ESPN's ...
ESPN basketball analyst Bill Walton will provide commentary on Alabama- Clemson.
Meet the Oddest Odd Couple in Sports Broadcasting
There were no candles to blow out, but the cake, though covered in a vaguely disgusting tie-dye fondant, looked nice enough. Dave Pasch had just been named Arizona Sportscaster of the Year, and the celebration seemed like just another blandly forgettable work party, albeit one broadcast live on ESPN during the Arizona-Colorado men’s basketball game.
Bill Walton: 10 quotes for his birthday - Second-guessing a referee ...
For his 60th birthday, here are 10 quotes from the Basketball Hall of Famer.
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NBA legend Bill Walton visits basketball team | ASU News | The ...
Just after the Sun Devils wrapped up preparing for Thursday's contest against Cal, they sat in a room with Bill Walton. He talked to team for a little over an hour  ...
ESPN Analyst Bill Walton Flourishing Again After Life-Threatening ...
The effervescent Bill Walton, currently an ESPN college basketball analyst, is the last person in the world you would expect to contemplate suicide. But just four ...
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Bill Walton is having a blast cycling along the USA Pro Cycling Challenge as he has climbed Independence Pass three times.
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