Hall of Fame center Walt Bellamy, who averaged 20.9 points and 13.7 rebounds over 14 seasons in the NBA died on Saturday at the age of 74, according to Fox Sports.
The Atlanta Hawks confirmed that Bellamy had in fact died but did not release any other information. They also confirmed that Bellamy had been in attendance at the Hawks’ home opener on Friday. NBA commissioner David Stern also released a statement in regards to Bellamy and the legacy he left on the NBA.
”Walt Bellamy was an enormously gifted Hall of Fame player who had a tremendous impact on our game,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement released by the league. ”Off the court, he was an even more extraordinary person. Walt is going to be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. On behalf of the entire NBA family, our condolences and thoughts go out to Walt’s family.”
Prior to playing in the NBA, Bellamy played three years at Indiana University where he averaged 20.6 points and 15.5 rebounds. He also won a gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics. The 6-foot-11 center was the first overall pick in 1961 drafted by the Chicago Packers. In his first season he won rookie of the year averaging 31.6 points and 19 rebounds. He also played for the Baltimore Bullets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta and New Orleans Jazz. He was a four-time all star and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.
The Atlanta Hawks released a statement saying:
”The Atlanta Hawks family is saddened to learn of the death of Walt Bellamy at the age of 74 earlier today,” the Hawks said in a statement. ”The Hawks and the National Basketball Association have lost a giant. As an Olympic gold medalist, the first overall pick in 1961, Rookie of the Year in 1962, a four-time All-Star and a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, his on-court accomplishments were overwhelming. Off the court, he was equally impactful as a family man, leader in the community, mentor and friend to many.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of Walt Bellamy.