The Chicago Bulls will add their eighth former player to the Basketball Hall of Fame when Chet Walker is inducted on Friday afternoon in Springfield, Mass. Walker – who played collegiately at Bradley and was a consensus First Team All-American in 1962 – came to the Bulls in 1969, the team’s fourth year of existence, and spent six seasons in Chicago.
His first year with the Bulls was rough as the team finished the season with a 39-43 record, but things would turn around quickly. Between 1971 and 1974, Walker would help the Bulls win no less than 50 games and the team advanced to the second round three times and the conference finals once. In his final year in Chicago, the Bulls would finish the regular season with a 47-35 record and advanced to the conference finals where they were swept 4-0 by the Milwaukee Bucks.
During his Bulls tenure, Chet Walker averaged 20 points, 6.5 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the field and 85 percent from the free throw line.
In a February interview
with Bulls.com writer Sam Smith – who on Thursday received the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's 2012 Curt Gowdy Media Award – Walker spoke on the success he helped the Bulls achieve during his time in Chicago.
“We scared a lot of people in that five year run,” Walker said with a laugh Friday. “We should have upset the Lakers when they won those 33 in a row. We should have beaten Golden State (in 1975). That was the team that kind of laid the foundation for basketball in Chicago.”
In 13 NBA seasons, Walker was somewhat of an iron man as he missed no more than six games in any season. For his career he was a seven-time All-Star, was named to the All-Rookie team in 1963 and he won an NBA Championship alongside Wilt Chamberlain in 1967.
This month, Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland’s Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President will be available on Kindle for $1.99. Tracing Obama’s career in Chicago from his arrival as a community organizer to his election to the U.S. Senate, Young Mr. Obama tells the story of how a callow, presumptuous young man became a master politician, and of why only Chicago could have produced our first black president.