From NBA Champion to Head Coach

From NBA Champion to Head Coach

Who is Luke Walton?

A former National Basketball Association (NBA) player, Luke Walton won two NBA Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and is remembered as one of the best Small forward/Power forward players. After ending his career as a player, Luke stayed near the court, this time as a coach., and won his third championship coaching the same team.

This three-time NBA Champion had his up and downs, both professionally and personally, however, he managed to stay down to earth and humble, which many of his fans love about him.

To learn more about his career beginnings and his journey from player to head coach, keep on reading.

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Early life, family, and education

Born Luke Theodore Walton under the zodiac sign of Aries on 28 March 1980, in San Diego, California USA, he holds American nationality and comes from a family of North American descent. He’s the son of Susie (nee Guth) and William ‘Bill’ Walton. His father also played basketball and is an NBA Hall-of-Famer who played for the Boston Celtics, San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers, and Portland Trail Blazers. Bill and Luke are the first father-son duo to have won multiple NBA championships. Luke has three brothers, namely Chris, Adam and Nathan, who prefer to keep their lives away from the media’s attention.

Being raised by an NBA star, it isn’t surprising that Luke began playing basketball from an early age.

When it comes to Luke’s educational background, he attended a local high school, and upon matriculating in 1998, he enrolled at the University of Arizona, from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Family Studies and Human Development, in 2003. Speaking of his college basketball career, his best year (statistically) was his freshman year.

NBA Career

Luke was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2003 NBA draft, and soon became Lakers fans’ favorite, mostly because of his hard work as a reserve player. In the season 2006-2007, Luke had his best NBA year, including in December against Atlanta Hawks, scoring 25 points, which is his personal record.

In July 2007, Luke signed a six-year $30 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning the 2009 and 2010 NBA Championships with his team.

Two years later, Luke was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and he played his final game on 5 April 2013, recording two assists in just three minutes of playing time.

Head Coach Career

During the 2011 NBA Lockout, Luke was hired by the University of Memphis, which was his first coaching experience. After his retirement as a player, Luke was hired by Los Angeles D-Fenders as a player development coach, joining the team for the 2013-2014 season.

The following season, he began serving as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, with whom he won the 2015 NBA Finals, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers, Luke’s first championship won as a coach. The Warriors also set a new NBA record under Luke’s guide, winning 16 consecutive games.

In April 2016, Luke was hired by the Los Angeles Lakers to become the team’s new head coach. In his first season with the team, the Lakers improved upon their franchise-worst 17-65 record from the previous year, finishing the season with a score of 26-56.

Luke stayed with the Los Angeles Lakers until April 2019 when he began serving as the head coach for the Sacramento Kings. Today, Luke is an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers, alongside J.B. Bickerstaff, signing with the team on 31 May 2022.

Love life and wife

Luke has been the subject of various rumors concerning his love life and even his sexual orientation was questioned, mostly because he’s quite secretive when it comes to his personal matters, and has rarely spoken about his romantic life in public.

He has been married since 2013, and his wife is Bre Ladd, his now former long-term girlfriend. The two met in 2002, while they were both studying at the University of Arizona. Bre was a volleyball player for the university’s team. They began dating in 2005, and their love story blossomed into a marriage. They have two children, whose names and genders haven’t been disclosed.

The couple was under the spotlight in April 2019, when Luke was accused of sexual assault by Kelli Tennant, a former Spectrum SportsNet host. Allegedly, the assault happened during Luke’s brief time as a member of the SportsNet’s on-air broadcast team, in 2013. According to Kelli, Luke invited her into his hotel room, pinned her on the bed, and kissed her face and neck, groping her breasts, and allegedly rubbed his erect penis against her leg. Luke denied the accusations, saying that they did meet in a hotel and that their ‘encounter was short, entirely pleasant, and consensual’.

In December 2019, the lawsuit was dropped at Kelli’s request, however, it’s unrevealed if there was a settlement. Luke’s wife, Bre, hasn’t commented about these alleged accusations, although the media’s tried to reach her for a statement.

This isn’t the only controversy Luke has experienced – back in 2008, he was a victim of stalking. A woman named Stacy Elizabeth Beshear at one point pulled up to Luke’s car, and pretended to shoot at him with her hand, which Luke found creepy. She was arrested and pleaded no contest to charges of stalking Luke. She was sentenced to three years probation, required to attend weekly counseling sessions for a year, and ordered to stay away from Luke’s home as well as Lakers games and practices for three years.

As of May 2023, Luke is still in a marriage.

Age, height, and net worth

Luke recently celebrated his 43rd birthday. If you have wondered how tall Luke is, he stands at a height of 6ft 8ins (2.03m) and weighs around 235lbs (107kgs). He’s known for his brown curly hair and piercing blue eyes.

According to sources, Luke has a net worth estimated at over $30 million. Most of his wealth, Luke has earned by playing and coaching basketball.

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