Walter Davis, a former NBA star known for his time with the Phoenix Suns, has passed away at the age of 69. According to his alma mater, Davis died of natural causes while visiting family in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Who was Walter Davis?

Davis, a dynamic forward/guard, had an outstanding NBA career spanning 15 years, the majority of which he spent with the Phoenix Suns. He was a six-time NBA All-Star, two-time All-NBA Second Team member and the 1978 NBA Rookie of the Year. The Suns retired his No. 6 jersey in 1994 to recognize his services, and he was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in 2004.

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Davis was the youngest of 13 siblings born in Pineville, North Carolina. He was a standout in high school basketball, recording three state championships with his South Mecklenburg High School squad. He proceeded to excel at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was an important member of the USA men’s basketball team.

Davis began his NBA career with the Phoenix Suns, where he had an immediate impact, winning Rookie of the Year and second team All-NBA honors in 1978. He received praise for his quick, smooth style of play and defensive abilities, giving him the moniker “Sweet D.”

During his first ten seasons in the NBA, Davis averaged more than 20 points per game and appeared in six All-Star games. In 1983, he set an NBA record by collecting his first 34 points without missing a shot.

Davis encountered obstacles in his later years with the Suns, including repeated back problems and a drug scandal on the team. Despite these challenges, he left an indelible mark on the Suns franchise as the franchise’s all-time top scorer with 15,666 points.

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After retiring from basketball, Davis worked as a broadcaster for the Denver Nuggets and a scout for the Washington Wizards. His connection with the Suns grew over time, culminating to the retirement of his jersey and induction into the team’s Ring of Honor.