WATCH: Boston Celtics honours Bill Walton before Game 1 of NBA Finals

Basketball: Boston Celtics paid tribute to the sixth man on their 1986 championship squad before Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

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Varun Sarwate
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Boston Celtics (Source: X)

Bill Walton only played one complete season with the Boston Celtics. His influence was unforgettable. Boston Celtics paid tribute to the sixth man on their 1986 championship squad before Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. Walton's family was in the crowd during a pregame minute of mourning, which was broken by a fan chanting, "We love you, Bill!"

"Bill Walton was a champion at every level and the embodiment of unselfish team play," the public address announcer stated, as Celtics and Mavericks players cheered. "He found delight in basketball and music, and he treasured his time with teammates and friends. We are pleased to proclaim him one of the greatest Celtics to have ever lived.

Walton, who was a three-time national player of the year at UCLA and guided the Bruins to the NCAA title in 1972 and 1973 amid a record 88-game winning run, passed away on May 27 at the age of 71. When the Trail Blazers won the NBA championship in 1977, he was the runner-up for NBA MVP and took home the trophy the following year.

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In 1986, he was selected as the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year and won a championship with the squad. Almost ten years after earning MVP with the Portland Trail Blazers, he averaged 7.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in around 20 minutes per game during their championship run.

Boston Celtics paid tribute by wearing black

Before moving to Boston in 1986, he previously spent four seasons as a player with the Clippers, missing three more due to foot issues. It was because of him that the Celtics were able to defeat the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals and win the franchise's historic 16th championship.

The Celtics paid tribute to his Dead headedness by wearing black shooting jerseys with the word "Walton" on a tie-dye backdrop, while team personnel wore pins with a similar design. The players' jerseys had a black band with Walton's name across the shoulder.

Boston Celtics may win the 18th title in team history if they defeat Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in their first Finals appearance since 2011.

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