Walter Davis, a former standout basketball player for the Phoenix Suns and the University of North Carolina, has died. He was 69 years old.
The Tar Heels announced Davis’ death, noting that he passed away of natural causes.
The former NBA Rookie of the Year played 15 seasons in the NBA. He played 11 seasons with the Suns then played for the Nuggets, then Blazers.
Davis was a six-time NBA All-Star, the NBA Rookie of the Year for the 77-78 season, and was twice named an “All-NBA” player.
Before playing in the NBA, Davis was a two-time “All-ACC” player at the University of North Carolina and contributed to his team making it to the 1977 NCAA national championship.
Famed player Michael Jordan, who attended the University of North Carolina after Davis, called Walter a hero and often spoke of Walter’s 1974 longshot at the buzzer to force Duke into overtime — a game UNC eventually won — as a great moment that inspired his play.
Respected by many, tributes are pouring in across all social media channels.
The Suns’ TV voice Kevin Ray wrote: “Absolutely heartbreaking news about the passing of #TheGreyhound, Walter Davis a Favorite @suns of All-time! Godspeed Speed to 1 of the most silky smooth players in basketball. @nba #Ring of Honor lost a legend.”
Greg Stanton, a former congressional representative and mayor of Phoenix wrote: “RIP to my favorite Suns player of all time, Walter Davis,” tweeted. “Growing up in Phoenix, so many great memories cheering on the Greyhound at the Madhouse on McDowell in the ’70s and 80s.”
Called “the Greyhound” by friends and fans, Davis still holds the Suns’ records for “points scored and field goals made,” according to the New York Post.
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