Home Sports Chet Walker, Hall of Famer who sued the NBA, dies at 84

Chet Walker, Hall of Famer who sued the NBA, dies at 84

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Chet Walker waits to be interviewed at a news conference at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Thursday, September 6, 2012. The seven-time NBA All-Star will be inducted into the hall on Friday. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Chet Walker waited a long time to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. He believed he had been excluded. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Chet Walker, a Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls great enshrined in the Naismith Hall of Fame, has died, his former teams confirmed Saturday. He was 84 years old.

Walker, nicknamed “Chet the Jet” for his speed on the court, earned NBA All-Star honors in seven of his 13 professional seasons, winning a championship in 1967 with the Sixers. He did not miss the playoffs once in his career, which ended after settling a lawsuit against the Bulls and the NBA.

The Mississippi native played at Bradley University in college, where he led the Braves to NIT championships in 1957 and 1960. He twice earned unanimous first-team All-American honors and left Bradley as the all-time leading scorer. from school. He remains fifth on the team’s current roster.

The Sixers, then known as the Syracuse Nationals, selected Walker in the second round, 12th overall, in the 1962 NBA Draft. After a successful rookie year, the team moved to Philadelphia, where Walker He became an eternal All-Star.

With Wilt Chamberlain leading the way and Walker and Hal Greer co-starring, the 1967 Sixers became the first team since 1958 to defeat the Boston Celtics in the playoffs, knocking them off in five games in the Eastern Conference finals. The Sixers proceeded to defeat the San Francisco Warriors, who left Philadelphia the previous decade, in the NBA Finals for the franchise’s second championship.

Walker was traded to the Bulls in 1969 in exchange for Jim Washington and continued to excel, helping lead Chicago to the playoffs after their struggles in their first few seasons of existence.

That career ended controversially in 1975 when the Bulls denied Walker’s request for a $200,000 annual salary. He then demanded to be traded or released and took the Bulls to court when they refused, taking the team and the NBA to court for alleged antitrust violations.

Walker ended up with a deal and opted to retire, later finding a second career as a writer and film producer. Meanwhile, the Bulls went from winning 47 games the previous 1974-75 season to 24 wins in 1975-76.

It took decades for Walker to get into the Hall of Fame despite having a compelling case, and he told the Chicago Tribune in 2007 that he believed he was blacklisted because of his lawsuit and his leadership role in the players’ union.

Walker was finally consecrated in 2012, at the age of 72.

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