NBA obituary: Chet ‘The Jet’ Walker, seven-time all-star, dies at 84

Published 3:59 pm Sunday, June 9, 2024

By The Associated Press

Chet Walker, a seven-time All-Star forward who helped Wilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia 76ers win the 1967 NBA title and later starred for the Chicago Bulls, has died. He was 84.

The National Basketball Players Association confirmed Walker’s death, according to The 76ers, Bulls and National Basketball Retired Players Association also extended their condolences on social media on Saturday.

Walker was part of Chicago’s inaugural class for its Ring of Honor in January.

“His skill, dedication and contributions to the game made a lasting impact on the sport of basketball and the city of Chicago,” the Bulls said in their statement.

“Chet Walker will forever be remembered as a true Chicago Bulls icon.”

Nicknamed “The Jet,” Walker had career averages of 18.2 points and 7.1 rebounds over his 13 seasons in the NBA. His teams made the playoffs every year he was in the league.

He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

Walker, a Mississippi native, went to high school in Benton Harbor, Michigan, before playing college ball at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. He was a two-time All-American with the Braves, helping the team win the 1960 NIT championship. His No. 31 jersey was retired by the school in 1976.

The 6-foot-7 Walker was selected by Syracuse in the second round of the 1962 NBA draft. He averaged 12.3 points in his first season before the Nationals moved to Philadelphia and were renamed the 76ers.

In his fifth season, Walker averaged 19.3 points and 8.1 rebounds in 81 games. With Chamberlain, Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham and Walker leading the way, the deep 76ers went 68-13 during the regular season. They eliminated Cincinnati and Boston in the playoffs before defeating Rick Barry and San Francisco for the 1967 NBA title.

The 76ers said Walker “made a profound impact” on Philadelphia and the NBA.

Walker was traded to Chicago in September 1969. He made the All-Star team four more times after the deal, averaging 20.6 points in his six seasons with the Bulls.

Walker teamed with Bob Love to give Chicago a strong 1-2 scoring punch, but they were never able to reach the NBA Finals together. Love averaged 25.8 points and Walker averaged 22 per game when the Bulls went 57-25 during the 1971-72 season, but they were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals.