Bill Walton Praised LeBron James And Others For Speaking Out On Social Issues

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Bill Walton has always been one of the NBA’s most colorful figures, both literally and figuratively. From his trademark tie-dye shirts to his stream-of-conscious in-game commentary, Walton never fails to entertain. He blessed us with a wonderful dose of the latter last Wednesday when ESPN tapped him to call the Celtics-Clippers game as part of their crossover initiative to mix and match NBA and NCAA broadcasters.

On Sunday, Walton attended a legends luncheon in Los Angeles for All-Star Weekend, and in a speech to a crowd comprising numerous retired Hall-of-Famers, including Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Walton praised current superstars for their willingness to speak out on social justice issues like their predecessors.

He singled out LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry specifically, commending them for their courage to stand up and fight for equality, regardless of how they’ll be perceived.

“They are the epitome of what it means to live in the shadow of Bill Russell, to live in the shadow of Jamaal Wilkes, to live in the shadow of Magic and Kareem and James Worthy, ” Walton said. “And all the people that live their entire lives, so that somebody else’s dream could come true. So when they stand up, I stand with them.”

LeBron and Durant made headlines recently after an UNINTERRUPTED video featured LeBron criticizing Donald Trump. A Fox News host subsequently told him to “shut up and dribble,” a notion that both LeBron and Durant shot back at in recent days. Curry has likewise been critical of Trump in the past, most notably saying that the world champion Warriors wouldn’t accept an invitation to visit the White House.

Scores of other players and league personnel have been vocal about denouncing institutionalized inequality in America, which has helped usher in a renaissance of sorts when it comes to pro athletes fighting for social justice reform. LeBron and many others continue to carry the torch passed to them by Walton, Russell, and other legends who fought for civil rights and provided a model for athletes today.