UCLA Basketball: Mick Cronin Reflects on Mourning Bill Walton

Walton passed away on May 27, 2024.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

Former UCLA basketball great Bill Walton died on May 27 at the age of 71, and the Bruins have since been mourning his loss. Walton played for the Bruins back in the early 1970s, leading them to two consecutive NCAA championships and winning the National College Player of the Year award three straight times.

Walton, who went on to become a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, NBA MVP, and two-time NBA champion, remained an important figure for UCLA basketball long after his playing days and into his broadcasting career. Along with his playing legacy, he was a figure who brought lots of joy, personality, and lighthearted moments to the game of basketball, and to UCLA.

“Bill being on TV and being the basketball announcer, he’s been the de-facto ambassador for UCLA athletics," UCLA men's basketball head coach Mick Cronin told David Woods and Tracy Pierson of Bruin Report Online. "It’s a huge loss, not just for his family, but for UCLA. He was like the living, walking, talking ambassador of positivity for UCLA.”

There was no funeral for Walton, and many, like Cronin, did not know how sick he was toward the end of his life. Cronin spoke on mourning him as well as UCLA potentially holding a celebration in honor of him.

“It’s hard to process because I think Bill’s wishes were no memorial service," Cronin added. "Obviously at UCLA, people above me are reaching out to the family to see if we can have a Celebration of Life or something of that nature for him, as they did for coach [John] Wooden.”

More UCLA: Pessimistic New Record Odds for Bruins in Deshaun Foster's Debut Year


Published
Eva Geitheim

EVA GEITHEIM

Eva graduated from UCLA in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in Communication. She has been covering college and professional sports since 2022.