By Miriam Raftery
August 6, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) -- NBA superstar, Hall of Famer, sportscaster and hometown hero Bill Walton has announced he will be at East County Magazine’s 10-year-anniversary party, “East County Fest” on August 25th at Mission Trails Regional Park visitor center.
Walton was named to the NBA list of 50 best players of all time in 1997 among many other top honors -- and he started his winning sports right here in East County, leading Helix High School in La Mesa to CIF championships before going on to a legendary career in college and professional sports.
He has also generously agreed to donate autographed sports memorabilia from his personal collection for our fundraising auction. The value of these one-of-a-kind items? Priceless!
A graduate of Helix in 1970, he led his team to win the CIF title two years in a row, winning 49 consecutive games. At Helix, Walton became the first and only high school player to ever make the USA Senior Men’s National Basketball Team and play in the World Championship and/or Olympics. He was the first of only two male California high school basketball athletes enshrined in the National High School Hall of Fame and still holds the high school record for field goals at 79%. He’s also the #3 rebounder nationally in the history of high school basketball.
At UCLA, he was a member of two undefeated NCAA championship teams that won an NCAA record 88 consecutive games. Named NCAA Player of the Year three times, Walton is also a three-time All America College Player who won the Sullivan Award for U.S. Best Amateur Athlete. He was named to the Pacific 8 All-Conference first team and honored as Pac-8 Conference Player of the Year three times.
He went on to play professional sports, first with the Portland Trailblazers as a member of their 1977 championship team and later with the Boston Celtics, earning another championship title in 1986. He also played with the San Diego Clippers and Los Angeles Clippers. He’s been an NBA Most Valuable Player and NBA Playoffs MVP among many other honors. He is one of only four players to have won multiple NCAA and multiple NBA championships. Walton led the league in both blocked shots and rebounding in the same season.
He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993, the Academic All America Hall of Fame in 1994, and the National High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. He’s also been inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame and others.
A scholar as well as an athlete, Walton graduated with honors from UCLA with a B.A. in history and went on to attend Stanford University Graduate School of Law.
Walton has stayed active as a TV sports commentator as well as in basketball clinics, camps and coaching. He’s worked for every major TV network (CBS, ABC, NBC, ESPN, Fox, MSNBC, Turner Sports, the NBA and more) as a sports commentator and also covered the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. In 2009, Walton was named one of the top 50 sports broadcasters of all time by the American Sportscasters Association.
He’s received the NBA Retired Player’s Association Humanitarian Award as well as numerous Best Television Analyst/Commentator Awards from the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association. He’s also been nominated for numerous Emmy awards and won a 2001 Emmy for best live sports TV broadcast. He also received a 1979 Emmy for his work on an environmental documentary in the Philippines.
Walton has had roles in feature films including Ghost Busters, Little Nicky and others. He’s appeared on numerous TV shows such as Wheel of Fortune and commercials.
He’s also won business accolates, including Forbes top 10 pundits in America in 2007 and TSE Sports and Entertainment Group’s top 20 business athlete representatives.
Currently, Walton is executive chairman of Connect SD Sports Innovators, a nonprofit trade organization driving growth of southern California’s sports economy by helping startup companies and mature companies as well as service providers. HE is also a board member of the Junior Seau Foundation and an avid fan of the Grateful Dead, teaching business professional what every business can learn from the iconic band.
Today, Bill Walton lives in San Diego with his wife, Lori and their four sons including Luke, who followed in his father’s athletic footsteps; they are the only father/son team in history to have each won multiple NBA championships.
You can read more about Bill Walton’s amazing life and achievements at www.BillWalton.com.
About East County Fest: Our event will feature all the best of East County including foods from top restaurants, wine tasting from local wineries, book signings by well-known local authors, live music and entertainment by several different performers, Richard Lederer, the Union-Tribune's "Lederer on Language columnist and KPBS "A Way with Words" cofounder/host, and local artists including a live painting by prominent artist Chuck McPherson. Proceeds will benefit East County Magazine and East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts published by the Heartland Coalition, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
Get tickets to East County Fest (August 25 from 6-10 p.m. at the Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center in San Diego just west of Santee) at http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/east-county-fest-august-25-party-decad....
Our thanks to major sponsors SDG&E and Diego Party Bus, and to our food and wine sponsors: Bekker's Catering, Farmer’s Table, Red Lobster, Cucina Basilica, Giardino’s Neighborhood Cucina, Por Favor, Downtown Café, Café 67, Lemon Grove Bakery, Baron's Market, Richard's Honey, Brew Coffee Spot, Granite Lion Cellars, San Pasqual Winery, Campo Creek Vineyards, Casi Cielo Winery, and Lenora Winery.
We also thank: artists Chuck McPherson, who will create a painting live for our auction, artists Gloria Chadwick and Jackie Hanson, wildlife photographer Debbie Merrill, Richard Lederer (UT columist and founding cohost of "A Way With Words on KPBS), Sunbelt Publications authors Richard Carrico, Jim and Terri Varnell, Don Endicott, Reina Menasche, Bette Pegas, Linda Hawley and Del Hood, musicians Miles Moynier, Jim Earp, Visionary Dance Theatre and San Diego Native American Flute Circle, prize donors Vineyard Hacienda, Runway Fashions, Ramona Ranch Winery, Hatfield Creek Winery, Fusion Glass, and Diego Party Bus for providing shuttle service.