Atlanta resident and NBA Hall of Famer, Walter Bellamy died Saturday, November 2, 2013 at age 74. Bellamy is a former center who averaged 20.1 points and 13.7 rebounds during his 14 seasons with the NBA.
Bellamy, who attended Indiana University, was the first overall draft pick by the Chicago Packers in 1961 and became the NBA’s rookie of the year in 1962. While with Chicago, Bellamy became a part of Black History by being a member of the first team in the NBA to use five black players in its staring lineup. During his NBA career, Bellamy also played for the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Jazz. He played in four NBA All-Star games and was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1993.
As a true NBA supporter, Bellamy attended the Atlanta Hawks’ home opener this past Friday night. "The Atlanta Hawks family is saddened to learn of the death of Walt Bellamy at the age of 74 earlier today," a Hawks representative expressed. "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."
Bellamy was dedicated to helping his community and remained active with various human service organizations until the end of his life. For many years, he proudly served on the Executive Committee of the Atlanta NAACP.
"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."