BOSTON (WHDH) - Shortly before tipoff in Thursday’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Celtics paused to honor late basketball legend Bill Walton.

Boston then went on to secure a resounding 107-89 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in what was their first home game since Walton died last week. 

“Bill was a champion at every level and the embodiment of unselfish team play,” the Celtics’ public address announcer said during Thursday’s pregame ceremony. “We are proud to call him one of the greatest Celtics who ever lived.” 

Walton was a star college basketball player at UCLA, where he helped lead the UCLA Bruins to back-to-back national championships in 1972 and 1973. 

He began his NBA career in 1974 after the Portland Trailblazers drafted him first overall. 

Though he struggled with injuries at the professional level, Walton still won an NBA title and a league MVP award in Portland before leaving for the San Diego Clippers. 

Walton joined the Celtics in 1985 and won his second NBA title in 1986. He last played in the NBA in 1987 and later transitioned to the broadcast booth.

Walton was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. 

The NBA announced Walton’s death due to cancer on Monday of last week. The Celtics paid tribute to Walton in a series of posts on X and soon punched their ticket to the finals with a win over the Indiana Pacers just hours after the NBA’s announcement

On Thursday, Celtics players wore shirts with Walton’s name written in tie-dye letters as they hit the court in Boston. 

Walton’s family was also in attendance at the game. 

“Honoring a true legend of the game,” the Celtics said in a post on X.

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