Chet Walker

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Chester "Chet" Walker (February 22, 1940 – June 8, 2024) was an American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was a seven-time NBA All-Star. He played 13 seasons in the NBA, seven with the Philadelphia 76ers, and he helped lead the 76ers to an NBA championship in 1967. He played his last six seasons for the Chicago Bulls from 1969 to 1975. He played college basketball for the Bradley Braves, twice earning first-team consensus All-American honors.

Chet Walker
Walker in 1975
Personal information
Born(1940-02-22)February 22, 1940
Bethlehem, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedJune 8, 2024(2024-06-08) (aged 84)
Long Beach, California, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight212 lb (96 kg)
Career information
High schoolBenton Harbor
(Benton Harbor, Michigan)
CollegeBradley (1959–1962)
NBA draft1962: 2nd round, 12th overall pick
Selected by the Syracuse Nationals
Playing career1962–1975
PositionSmall forward
Number25
Career history
19621969Syracuse Nationals / Philadelphia 76ers
19691975Chicago Bulls
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points18,831 (18.2 ppg)
Rebounds7,314 (7.1 rpg)
Assists2,126 (2.1 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

Early life

Born in Bethlehem, Mississippi, Walker played high school basketball for the Benton Harbor High School boys basketball team. He graduated from Bradley University in 1962 as the school's all-time leading scorer. The Bradley Braves won the National Invitation Tournament championship in 1960. Walker's speed and agility on the court earned him the nickname "Chet the Jet."

 
Chet Walker of Bradley University during the 1961–62 season

NBA career

Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers (1962–1969)

Walker was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals in the 1962 NBA draft, and was named to the NBA's first All-Rookie Team in 1963. He followed the team to Philadelphia after his rookie season. Walker averaged over 19 points and eight rebounds a game for the 1966–67 76ers, who won 68 games and lost just 13—the best record in NBA history at the time. That Alex Hannum-coached team, which also featured center Wilt Chamberlain, guards Hal Greer and Wali Jones, and sixth man Billy Cunningham, ended the eight-year championship run of the Boston Celtics.

Chicago Bulls (1969–1975)

 
Chet Walker in the 1969–70 team photo of the Chicago Bulls

Walker played his final six seasons with the Chicago Bulls, and never averaged less than 19.2 points and 5.0 rebounds a game. In his 13-year career, Walker scored a total of 18,831 points. The 6–6 forward was an outstanding free-throw shooter, especially in his later years with the Bulls. He led the NBA with an accuracy rate of 85.9 percent in 1970–71, and ranked among the top-10 free-throw shooters five other times. On February 6, 1972, Walker scored a career-high and then-team-record 56 points during a Bulls win over the Cincinnati Royals.

Walker was a seven-time participant in the NBA All-Star Game.

Post playing career

After his playing days, Walker became a moderately successful TV movie producer. He is the author of a memoir entitled Long Time Coming: A Black Athlete's Coming-of-Age in America (1995). Walker also appeared in The White Shadow in season 3's "If Your Number's Up, Get it Down" as a former Chicago Bulls teammate of Coach Ken Reeves (Ken Howard).

On February 24, 2012 (two days after his 72nd birthday), it was announced that Walker was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame by the veterans committee. He was formally inducted into the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, on September 7, 2012.

Death

Walker died in Long Beach, California, on June 8, 2024, at the age of 84. The NBA stated Walker's death is a result of a long-term illness.

NBA career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
 †  Won an NBA championship

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1962–63 Syracuse 78 25.5 .469 .699 7.2 1.1 12.3
1963–64 Philadelphia 76 36.5 .440 .711 10.3 1.6 17.3
1964–65 Philadelphia 79 27.7 .403 .742 6.7 1.7 13.2
1965–66 Philadelphia 80 32.5 .451 .716 8.0 2.5 15.3
1966–67 Philadelphia 81 33.2 .488 .766 8.1 2.3 19.3
1967–68 Philadelphia 82 32.0 .460 .726 7.4 1.9 17.9
1968–69 Philadelphia 82 33.6 .484 .804 7.8 1.8 18.0
1969–70 Chicago 78 34.9 .477 .850 7.7 2.5 21.5
1970–71 Chicago 81 36.1 .465 .859 7.3 2.2 22.0
1971–72 Chicago 78 33.2 .505 .847 6.1 2.3 22.0
1972–73 Chicago 79 31.1 .478 .832 5.0 2.3 19.9
1973–74 Chicago 82 32.5 .486 .875 5.0 2.4 0.8 0.0 19.3
1974–75 Chicago 76 32.3 .487 .860 5.7 2.2 0.6 0.1 19.2
Career 1,032 32.4 .470 .796 7.1 2.1 0.7 0.1 18.2
All-Star 7 1 17.9 .435 .850 2.6 1.3 0.0 0.0 8.1
Source:

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1963 Syracuse 5 26.0 .509 .733 9.4 1.8 15.2
1964 Philadelphia 5 38.0 .390 .739 10.4 2.6 18.8
1965 Philadelphia 11 42.6 .480 .760 7.2 1.6 20.3
1966 Philadelphia 5 36.2 .375 .806 7.4 3.0 14.6
1967 Philadelphia 15 36.7 .467 .807 7.6 2.1 21.7
1968 Philadelphia 13 37.3 .410 .679 7.4 1.8 19.1
1969 Philadelphia 4 27.3 .535 .667 5.8 2.0 13.5
1970 Chicago 5 35.6 .422 .818 8.4 2.2 19.4
1971 Chicago 7 33.4 .440 .708 7.1 3.1 15.0
1972 Chicago 4 24.3 .421 .813 3.5 1.0 11.3
1973 Chicago 7 32.7 .347 .892 8.9 2.0 16.7
1974 Chicago 11 36.6 .509 .861 5.5 1.6 0.9 0.1 20.9
1975 Chicago 13 33.2 .494 .880 4.6 1.8 1.0 0.1 17.5
Career 105 35.1 .449 .787 7.0 2.0 1.0 0.1 18.2
Source:

See also

References