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BREAKING: Walter Davis, NBA/UNC Basketball All-Star, passes away at age 69

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold
The Truth Network Radio
November 2, 2023 2:04 pm

BREAKING: Walter Davis, NBA/UNC Basketball All-Star, passes away at age 69

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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November 2, 2023 2:04 pm

Erroll Reese and Phil Ford on the breaking news of Walter’s passing and their relationship with him. Who was Walter to UNC? What was he like behind the scenes?


CHAPEL HILL – Walter Davis, an all-star at the University of North Carolina and in the NBA, a member of the United States gold-medal winning Olympic basketball team in 1976 and uncle of UNC head coach Hubert Davis, passed away this morning of natural causes while visiting family in Charlotte, N.C.

Davis (69) was one of the best shooters in Carolina basketball history. A member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the Pineville, N.C., native was a two-time All-ACC honoree in 1976 and as a senior in 1977, when he led the Tar Heels to an ACC Tournament title and appearance in the NCAA championship game.

He scored 1,863 points, grabbed 670 rebounds and had 409 assists playing for head coach Dean Smith.

This season is the 50th anniversary of Davis’s 25-foot shot at the buzzer against Duke that capped an eight-point comeback in the final 17 seconds of regulation to send the game to overtime, where the Tar Heels won. It is one of the most iconic moments in college basketball and, even as a freshman, cemented his place in Carolina Basketball history.


Davis won NBA Rookie-of-the-Year honors with the Phoenix Suns in 1978. He was a five-time NBA All-Star and the Suns retired his No. 6.



University of North Carolina

Senior Associate A.D. for Sports Information & Media Relations


We have more sad news to bring to you.

We're not going to fancy this up. Legendary Tar Heel forward Walter Davis has passed away today at the age of 69. And I'm literally just hearing this news. And I know that our newsroom has sent out an email around the company. And I'm sure this is hitting local news, if not national news. But our friend Errol Reese, who hosts a show on this radio station called The Sports Shop in the Mornings, was apparently driving to Charlotte with Phil Ford when they got the news.

And Errol is joining us here on the Adam Gold Show. Man, I like getting texts from you, but not this. Explain to me what you can in terms of the passing of Walter Davis, who for people who don't know, is the uncle of current North Carolina basketball coach Hubert Davis. Yeah, Adam, it's obviously we're still like devastated. Phil and I, we literally, we have a tradition where when Walt comes in town, he always comes to Charlotte initially. And we always drive down to pick him up to bring him back to Chapel Hill. It's time for us to spend time with him.

And we always stop and have lunch. And that was the case. He was here visiting, just coming off a golf tournament. Alex English had a golf tournament down in Columbia, so he left there and came to Charlotte. And he was coming to Chapel Hill for the weekend.

So we normally pick him up. So we came down on our way down here and we were talking to each other. Phil and I, we were saying we hadn't heard from Walter. We were trying to contact him, which is kind of odd. And Phil was like, well, let me call his sister. And we called his sister and she was concerned because we hadn't heard anything. And it turns out that Phil suggested the police go over to the hotel where you stand at and do a wellness check. And they did that unless we found that he was nonresponsive and they pronounced him dead. And just FYI, Walter has been going through a lot of medical issues. He's a diabetic and he has some heart issues, so we don't know.

He just had a stroke a little while ago, so we don't know the nature of what happened. It's just a sad situation. And of course, Phil, Phil Ford is right here with me. And, you know, he's known Walt as long as I have. I met Walt through him. We all became almost brothers. So it's a real sad situation. Errol Reese is joining us.

He hosts the sports shop along with other people here on this radio show. Look, here's the thing about the kids today. And we'll celebrate Walter the player here as well. Kids today see a lot of great players. Tell them who are listening what Walter was like as a player. Well, well, I will tell you from my perspective, I'm going to give you the phone to a guy that this knowing quite a bit from from my perspective, I grew up him grew up watching him.

He's three years older than me. But I was always amazed how great a shooter he was, particularly when he got to the NBA. People may not realize that this guy average 20 some points a game for his career in the NBA, five time All-Star, you know, rookie of the year. And just just was a phenomenal player. And right behind him, after Walter won the rook of the year, three or four came right by him. Who who who won rookie year? Yes.

And I'm going to pass the phone over here. I feel I don't want to know what kind of player was. Well, he was great. You know, my freshman year when I got to Carolina, he was a sophomore. And in high school, if there was a guy taller than me, I was usually a little quicker, a little faster. But when I got to Carolina, this was the first guy that I saw that was much taller than me and quicker and faster than me.

So he was a great, great player. And we were great friends since the since I first met him my senior year in high school and he was the best man in my wedding. I was the best man in his wedding. And we just had a a great, great friendship. And he's truly going to be missed.

This is the longest drive I have driving back early. And I came up to pick him up and didn't find out about he had passed. And they're halfway up here and we're just leaving the hotel where he passed and we're driving back to Raleigh now. A very sorry for your loss, because I know the North Carolina is you know, we hear about brotherhood and all of that family and that and that. But you guys who played together, you truly are family.

Thank you. He was an incredible player. Smooth probably doesn't do Walter justice because I remember him more as an NBA player than I do as a collegiate guy. So just your thoughts on him as a as a pro and what he meant to the university.

Well, of course, that's how we have here. But now we probably wouldn't have Hubert Jr. if Walter didn't come there. I remember meeting Hubert when he was six or seven years old through Walter's brother when we were in the Olympics. Walter's brother came and picked us up in Montreal and Cuba was probably seven or eight years old.

And he sat beside between Walter nine the backseat from the Olympic Village to Vienna, Virginia, where they were staying. And he's just he was just Carolina all the way. He loved Carolina as much as anybody. And, you know, he was a great, great player at Carolina. As I always said, he doesn't get his due. I think he could have been chosen the MVP of the 1975 tournament. I always say that. And he was just a very unselfish. He was just a great all around person that happened to be a great basketball player. Phil Ford, Errol Reese. Phil doesn't even get Chiron credits here on the YouTube video because I didn't know we were going to talk with you as well.

I appreciate your time. Again, I mean, crushed for your loss. It's been a tough day before we let you go. I know you played in the college game about the time that Bob, you know, Bobby Knight was a coach. So here's another guy we lost.

We lost two legends in the last, you know, 18 hours. I was a great person every time that I would run into him on the recruiting trail when I was a coach. He would always tell me that Coach Smith players could play for him and his players could play for Coach Smith. And Quinn Barton and Scott May are a prime example of that.

Michael Jordan is a prime example of that plan for him in the eighty five in the eighty four Olympics. And Scott and Quinn planned for Coach Smith in the 76 Olympics. And I actually smoked I spoke I spoke to Mike Woodson and Quinn and Scott yesterday to relay my condolences.

But it's definitely a sad two days. Unbelievable. I'm I'm I'm never prepared for stuff like this.

Nobody can be Phil Ford. I appreciate your time. You're a great gentleman. And thank you to our friend Errol Reese for just letting us know. I know this is Earl. I'm going to give the phone back to Earl.

It's it's it's not it's not my time either. Hey, I appreciate your time. I appreciate you letting me know what happened here. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's a lot going on, you know, and I figured that I want to let you know what's going on.

And not only no walk situation, of course, Coach Knight. So unfortunately to talk about also. There you go. I mean, I thank you very much for your time. We'll talk to you again soon. All right.

Take care. That's Errol Reese and Phil Ford. So we've had a lot going on here on the Adam Gold show. Mike to Corsi of the sport.

He's got a lot to talk to Mike about. He might not even know about the passing of Carolina legend Walter Davis. And again, he is the uncle of current UNC basketball coach Hubert Davis. So our condolences to coach Davis and his family, as well as all those people who who were touched by the former Tar Heel legend who passed away at the age of 69.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-02 16:18:13 / 2023-11-02 16:22:02 / 4

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