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Philadelphia 76ers legend Julius Erving pays tribute to Bill Walton after his death at 71

Friends and colleagues offer fond memories of basketball icon Bill Walton
Friends and colleagues offer fond memories of basketball icon Bill Walton 01:38

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia 76ers legend and 11-time NBA All-Star Julius Erving is adding his voice to the chorus of current and former sports icons mourning the death of two-time NBA Champion and broadcaster Bill Walton.

The NBA announced that Walton died Monday while surrounded by family after a "prolonged battle with cancer." He was 71.

Not long after the news of Walton's death was released, Dr. J posted a photo of the pair on social media, calling him "one of the sports world's most beloved champions & characters."

"Bill Walton enjoyed life in every way. To compete against him & to work with him was a blessing in my life. Sorry for your loss Walton family. We'll miss him too," he wrote.

In 1977, Walton led the Portland Trailblazers to the team's only NBA championship, and a victory over Erving and the 76ers.

The Sixers won the first two games of that 1977 championship series, before dropping the next four games and the title to Portland.  

Trail Blazers 76ers
Portland Trail Blazers Bill Walton (32) goes high in the air to block a shot by Philadelphia's Julius Erving during their NBA championship game in Portland, Ore., May 29, 1977. Jack Smith / AP

It would be another six years before Erving would claim an NBA title. In 1983, a Philadelphia team stacked with Erving, Moses Malone and Maurice Cheeks swept the Los Angeles Lakers in four games.

In 1993, Walton and Erving were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

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