June 23, 2024

Chicago Bulls icon Chet ‘The Jet’ Walker dies at 84

Chet Walker, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and a Chicago Bulls icon, has died at the age of 84.

Walker, affectionally nicknamed “The Jet,” played 13 NBA seasons and was a seven-time All-Star. The 6-foot-7 forward was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals with the 14th pick in 1962. He played his first seven seasons with the franchise, earning his first three All-Star appearances after the team relocated to become the Philadelphia 76ers.

Walker was the third-leading scorer behind Wilt Chamberlain and Hal Green on the Sixers’ 1967 championship team.

After being traded to Chicago in 1969, Walker became an integral piece on the Dick Motta-coached Bulls teams with Bob Love, Norm Van Lier, Jerry Sloan, Clifford Ray and Nate Thurmond as his running mates. He made four All-Star teams as a member of the Bulls.

Walker led the NBA in free-throw shooting at 85.9 percent during the 1970-71 season. Walker also posted his career-high in scoring with 56 points while playing for a 57-win Bulls team in the 1971-72 season.

Chicago made the Western Conference finals in each of Walker’s final two seasons.

“We are deeply saddened be the passing of Chet Walker, a legendary figure in our team’s history,” the Chicago Bulls said through a statement Saturday night. “An inductee of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Chet left an indelible mark on the court and in the hearts of fans. During his six seasons with the Bulls from 1969 to 1975, the team never missed the playoffs. He was a seven-time NBA All-Star and an inaugural member of the Chicago Bulls Ring of Honor. His skill, dedication and contributions to the game made a lasting impact on the sport of basketball and the city of Chicago.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and all who were touched by his legacy. Chet Walker will forever be remembered as a true Chicago Bulls icon.”

(Photo: Dick Raphael / NBAE via Getty Images)