NBA

Chet Walker, former Bulls superstar known as ‘The Jet’, has died at age 84

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A legend for both the Bulls and 76ers has passed away this weekend. Chet Walker, who went on to become a seven-time NBA All-Star, has passed away at the age of 84. The Jet, as he was well known during his time as a professional, has died for reasons still unknown, as the police haven’t revealed the cause of his death yet. 

Both his former teams have posted emotional statements on Saturday night, just as the news of his passing away had surfaced online. “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Chet Walker, a legendary figure in our team’s history,” the Chicago team wrote.

“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,” the statement continued.

The Bulls recognized that things for the franchise started to turn around when he arrived in Illinois. “He was a seven-time NBA All-Star and an inaugural member of the Chicago Bulls Ring of Honor,” they added. “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.”

The Sixers also recognized Walker’s path through their franchise and celebrated his life with another post on the team’s social media. “Chet Walker spent the first 7 seasons of his Hall of Fame career with our franchise & delivered a championship in ’67,” it reads.

“Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Jet,’ Walker made a profound impact in our city & within our League. Our condolences go out to the Walker family & their friends,” the team posted in a statement.

Chet was first drafted by the Syracuse Nationals in 1962, but Philadelphia would snatch and trade him to become his first team in the league. It would be there where he won the 1967 NBA Finals, in a 4-2 triumph against the San Francisco Warriors.

His former Bulls manager acknowledged his contribution to establish Chicago as a viable city for professional basketball

According to Pat Williams, who served as the Bulls’ General Manager during Chet’s time at the club, recognized his impact in Chicago. Some time ago, the executive explained why Chet’s contribution helped establish the city as a viable destination for professional basketball.

“The sport hadn’t made it in Chicago going back decades and they were again looking to move the team,” he said, as the club’s regular-season victory total grew from 33 to 51 within two campaigns alongside Walker. “But when Chet got there, everything changed.”

Billy Cunningham, who was one of his former teammates and presenters at his 2012 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, shared what it felt to play alongside The Jet.

“He was slow — you were slow, Chet — but you just couldn’t stop the man,” said the Sixers icon. “He just took you to the spot on the court, faked you, went up over you, took it to the hole, or someone was open and he’d find the open man.”