Today in Sports History: October 18

On this day in 1974, Bill Walton made his debut for the Portland Trail Blazers against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Portland won 131-129. The legendary big man was known for leading the Portland Trail Blazers to their first and only championship in 1977. Battling the favored Philadelphia 76ers in the 1977 finals, the Blazers lost the first two games. Walton’s incredible play led the Blazers to win four in a row. In Game 6, Walton put on a phenomenal performance scoring 20 points and grabbing 23 rebounds. He was named the Finals MVP with averages of 18.5 points, 19.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.7 blocks. In 1986, Walton helped the Celtics win another championship Although he played a lesser role, Walton still put up healthy numbers as a 34-year-old veteran. In that finals series against the Rockets, Walton averaged 8.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 2.2 blocks in 19 minutes. Walton’s other accolades include NBA Sixth Man of the Year, NBA Rebounding Leader, NBA Blocks Leader, NBA MVP, 2x All-NBA Team selections, 2x All-NBA Defense First Team, and 2x NBA All-Star. Walton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993 and his no.32 was retired by the Portland Trail Blazers.

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