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Mississippi native and Basketball Hall of Famer Chet Walker dies at 84

Hall of Famer Chet ‘The Jet’ Walker was a seven-time All-Star and reached the playoffs in each of his 13 seasons. Photo from the NBA.

Chet Walker, a Mississippi native and seven-time NBA All-Star, has passed away at the age of 84.

After being born in the community of Bethlehem in Marshall County, Walker and his family moved to Benton Harbor, Mich., where Walker was a star forward on the Benton Harbor High School boys’ basketball team. He attended Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., helping the Braves win the National Invitation Tournament championship in 1957 and leaving as the school’s all-time leading scorer.

By the time the 1962 NBA Draft rolled around, Walker was known on the court as “Chet the Jet” for impeccable speed and agility that balanced perfectly with his 6-foot-7 frame. The Syracuse Nationals, who would become the Philadelphia 76ers in 1963, drafted Walker with the twelfth pick of the second round.

During his time with Syracuse/Philadelphia, Walker was named to the NBA’s first All-Rookie team in 1962 and was named to the All-Star team in 1964, 1966, and 1967. During the 1966-67 season, he averaged 19 points and eight rebounds per game as that 76ers squad – which also featured Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer, and Wali Jones – went on to defeat the San Francisco Warriors in the NBA Finals.

In 1969, Walker moved to Chicago to play for the Bulls, never averaging less than 19 points and five rebounds per game in his final six seasons. He was named an All-Star in 1970, 1971, 1973, and 1974 before retiring after the 1974-75 season with a career total of 18,831 points.

Both teams that Walker suited up for issued their condolences on social media after the news was announced on Saturday.

After his 13 years in the NBA, Walker became a TV movie producer, author, and actor. On Feb. 24, 2012, Walker was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame before formally being inducted on Sept. 7, 2012.

Walker died in Long Beach, Calif., after a “long illness,” according to a release from the NBA.

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