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Walter Davis
forward/guard
Born September 9, 1954 (1954-09-09) (age 55)
Pineville, North Carolina
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 193 lb (88 kg)
League NBA
College North Carolina
Draft 5th overall, 1977
Phoenix Suns
Pro career 1977–1992
Former teams Phoenix Suns ('78-'88)
Denver Nuggets ('89-'91, '92)
Portland Trail Blazers ('91)
Awards 1978 NBA Rookie of the Year
Profile Info Page
Olympic medal record
Men's basketball
Gold 1976 Montreal Team

Walter Paul Davis (born September 9, 1954, in Pineville, North Carolina) is a retired American basketball player. A 6'6" forward/guard, Davis spent 15 years in the National Basketball Association, spending the bulk of those years with the Phoenix Suns. As a standout college player at the University of North Carolina, he was selected to play on the USA men's basketball team coached by UNC's Dean Smith that won the gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics.

The Suns selected Davis with the fifth pick of the 1977 NBA Draft. He made an immediate impact, playing in 81 games and averaging 24.2 points per game in his first season. He won the 1978 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and earned second team All-NBA honors. Over his first ten seasons, Davis averaged over 20 PPG six times, and earned trips to six NBA All-Star Games.

Over his career, Davis averaged 18.9 points, 3.8 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. Davis was affectionately known as "The Greyhound" for his speedy style and sleek physical appearance. Suns broadcaster Al McCoy created many alternate nicknames for him, including "Sweet D," "The Candyman," and "The Man with the Velvet Touch." Davis is the Suns' all time leading scorer with 15,666 points and is commonly understood as the best pure shooter in the history of the franchise.

Davis's later Suns playing career was marred by recurring back problems and an ugly drug scandal. In 1987, he was called on to testify on illegal drug use by other Suns players in exchange for immunity from prosecution. (He had twice entered rehab clinics to deal with cocaine addiction.) His decline mirrored the decline of the Suns franchise, and at the expiration of his contract in 1988 at age 33, the team did not seriously attempt to re-sign him, offering a 1-year contract at half his previous salary.

Davis signed a two-year, $1.35 million deal with the Denver Nuggets as an unrestricted free agent. He ended up playing for two years beyond this contract, and was included in a 3-team trade in early 1991 that sent him to the Portland Trail Blazers for half a season. In the summer of 1991, he returned to Denver to close out his playing career.

Davis later broadcast for the Nuggets, and has served as a scout for the Washington Wizards. As time passed, Davis and the Suns repaired their relationship. In 1994, his number 6 was retired by the Suns, and in 2004 he was enshrined in the team's Ring of Honor. [1]

His nephew Hubert Davis also played basketball for UNC and in the NBA.

References

Preceded by
Adrian Dantley
NBA Rookie of the Year
1978
Succeeded by
Phil Ford
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