( The Packer )

Basketball legend Bill Walton will give the keynote speech at The Packer’s West Coast Produce Expo.

His May 10 speech includes a question-and-answer session, followed by and a meet-and-greet with expo attendees, for more than hour of energy and passion.

Walton is a West Coast icon. He played for University of California-Los Angeles in the early 1970s under renowned coach John Wooden, leading the Bruins to NCAA championships in 1972 and 1973 and winning three straight College Player of the Year awards.

“It is a thrill to bring an iconic celebrity to the main stage at the West Coast Expo,” said Shannon Shuman, vice president of produce for The Packer’s parent company Farm Journal. “The West Coast Produce Expo is designed from beginning to end to be engaging, entertaining and enormously valuable to everyone who attends. Bill Walton will bring a tremendous level of energy to kick off the show.”

Walton’s pro career included an NBA Most Valuable Player award and two NBA championships. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. 

Over the course of his basketball career and afterward, Walton battled back from dozens of surgeries related to foot and back problems. Walton also overcame a stuttering problem at age 28 and is currently is an ESPN broadcaster for Pac-12 basketball games.

His autobiography, “Back from the Dead,” was a New York Times bestseller.

Walton, a Southern California resident, said April 16 that he is looking forward to meeting produce industry members at the May 9-10 West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Desert, Calif.