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Walter Davis, Phoenix Suns’ All-Time Leading Scorer, Passes Away at 69

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Walter Davis, the all-time leading scorer for the Phoenix Suns, has sadly passed away at the age of 69. The University of North Carolina, his alma mater, confirmed that Davis died of natural causes while visiting family in Charlotte.

The Phoenix Suns, the team with which Davis was most closely associated, reacted to the news of his passing with a heartfelt statement. They expressed their deep sorrow at losing a legend who was not only the franchise’s all-time leading scorer but also a cherished member of their Ring of Honor. Known affectionately as “Sweet D,” Walter Davis was a prolific scorer whose smooth playing style and “velvet touch” endeared him to generations of Suns fans. The team emphasized that he would always remain a cherished member of the Phoenix Suns family and community. The Suns extended their condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.

Walter Davis’s legacy extended beyond his professional basketball career. He was a key part of the United States Olympic gold medal-winning basketball team at the 1976 Montreal Games. Additionally, Davis had a family connection to the world of basketball as the uncle of Hubert Davis, the current head coach of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

During his college days at the University of North Carolina, Davis averaged 15.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in 119 games over four seasons. His impressive performance led to his selection as the fifth overall pick in the 1977 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, ahead of future Hall of Famers Bernard King and Jack Sikma. Davis made an immediate impact in the NBA and was named the NBA Rookie of the Year for the 1977-78 season. He went on to have a remarkable 11-season career with the Phoenix Suns.

Despite his impressive basketball career, the end of Davis’s tenure with the Suns was marred by a drug scandal. In 1987, Davis testified against his teammates in exchange for immunity from prosecution and sought treatment for his own struggles with cocaine addiction, according to the Los Angeles Times. Nevertheless, his legacy in the NBA remained intact. Davis, a six-time All-Star, averaged 18.9 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in 1,033 career games with the Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, and Portland Trail Blazers.

Following his retirement as a player, Walter Davis remained involved in the basketball world. He served as a broadcaster for the Denver Nuggets and as a scout for the Washington Wizards. In recognition of his contributions to the Phoenix Suns, the team retired his No. 6 jersey in 1994.

Walter Davis will be remembered not only as the Phoenix Suns’ all-time leading scorer but also as an iconic figure in the world of basketball. His impact on the game and his place in the hearts of fans will endure as a testament to his enduring legacy.

Written by
Derek Chan – Editor

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