June 13, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Chet Walker, NBA champion and film producer, dies at the age of 84

Chet Walker, NBA champion and film producer, dies at the age of 84

Walker scored just 10 points in Game 6, and was hospitalized after the Bulls’ Game 7 loss in Oakland, California, with a recurrence of a kidney infection that would later cause scarring and require ongoing treatment.

In a 2022 interview, Williams said he still heard regularly from Walker, adding: “The only thing that interests him is why the Bulls will never retire his No. 25. He’ll say, ‘You and I helped save Chicago basketball.'” They already pulled Bob Love’s number and Jerry Sloan’s number, so why didn’t they pull Chet’s number?

Chester Walker was born on February 22, 1940, in Bethlehem, Miss., the youngest of John and Regina Walker’s ten children. His family owned a small cotton farm, where Walker worked until his mother, after losing her daughter in 1950 to tuberculosis and suffering physical abuse from her husband, moved with her younger children to Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Experiencing integration for the first time, Walker starred at Benton Harbor High School and earned a scholarship to Bradley University, where he was a two-time consensus All-America selection, averaging 24.4 points and 12.8 rebounds over three seasons. Nicknamed “Chet the Jet”, he was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals in the second round, made the NBA’s All-Rookie Team and moved to Philadelphia with the franchise in 1963. He finished his career averaging 18.2 points and 7.1 rebounds.

Walker’s mentor in the film industry and connection to Hollywood was producer Zev Brown, a neighbor in Chicago. Brown was executive producer of Walker’s first production, 1979’s “Freedom Road,” a television miniseries about a former slave who rises to the U.S. Senate during Reconstruction. The series is based on the 1944 novel by Howard Fast, and stars Muhammad Ali and Kris Kristofferson.

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