Former Phoenix Suns and North Carolina basketball star Walter Davis has died at 69 years old.
The death was announced by the Tar Heels, who said that Davis passed naturally while visiting family in Charlotte.
Davis played in the NBA from 1977 through 1992; his first 11 NBA seasons were with the Suns, before he later played for the Nuggets and Blazers.
He was a six-time NBA All-Star, two-time All-NBA and the 1977-78 Rookie of the Year.
At North Carolina, Davis starred on Dean Smith’s teams, making All-ACC twice and contributing greatly to the team that reached the 1977 NCAA national championship game.
He famously hit a deep buzzer beater off the glass in 1974 against Duke to force overtime, capping off a stretch in which the Tar Heels scored eight points in 17 seconds before winning the game against their heated rivals in the extra time.
Michael Jordan, who starred at North Carolina after Davis, has cited Davis as one of his heroes growing up.
“Absolutely heartbreaking news about the passing of #TheGreyhound, Walter Davis a Favorite @suns of All time!” tweeted Suns TV voice Kevin Ray. “God Speed to 1 of the most silky smooth players in basketball. @nba #Ring of Honor lost a legend.”
“RIP to my favorite@Suns player of all time, Walter Davis,” tweeted Greg Stanton, an Arizona politician in the House of Representatives who was formerly mayor of Phoenix. “Growing up in Phoenix, so many great memories cheering on the Greyhound at the Madhouse on McDowell in the ‘70’s and 80’s.”
Davis was the uncle of former Knicks and North Carolina great Hubert Davis, who currently coaches the Tar Heels.