Despite not having played a game on an NBA court in almost 30 years, Bill Walton still remains one of the sport’s most popular figures of today. The 6-foot-11 center spent 10 years in the league and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
While Walton received his claim to fame on the court, it was his brother Bruce that beat him to the punch when it came to playing a sport on the professional level.
Bruce Walton, who was born a year before Bill, spent three seasons in the NFL from 1973 to 1975 as an offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys. Under the leadership of legendary Cowboys head coach Tom Landry, Walton had the luxury of appearing in a Super Bowl with Dallas in 1976. But unfortunately for him and the Cowboys, the team ended up losing the game to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Measuring in at 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds, Walton spent his time in college football at UCLA (like his brother Bill). He was a starter on the Bruins’ offensive line for three seasons and was named to the All-Pacific-8 Conference football team in 1972.
Normally if two siblings make it to the professional level, it is usually done in the same sport. But like Bruce and Bill Walton, a number of brothers have become professional athletes in two separate sports. Who knew Mark McGwire had a brother?
After his younger brother appeared in the NBA finals during the 1976-77 season (and won), Bruce and Bill became the first set of siblings to ever appear in both the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals.
Bruce was not an NFL superstar by any means as the majority of his time in Dallas was spent as a reserve. His professional football career only lasted three years as he was unable to continue playing in the league after suffering a knee injury.
But if not for his brother, Bill Walton might have never become the successful former basketball player that he is known as today as he credits Bruce for getting him interested in playing sports. So given his size at 6-foot-11, Bill opted to start playing basketball rather than join his brother out on the football field.
Considering that less than one percent of the people in the United States are able to become a professional athlete, it is quite remarkable that a handful of them have come from the same family.