Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Walt Bellamy, a Hall of Famer who spent 14 years in the NBA and also represented the United States in the Olympics, passed away on Saturday. He was 74.
Bellamy, born in North Carolina but an Indiana product who starred at center, was taken by the Chicago Packers first overall in the 1961 NBA Draft. He followed the club as it transferred to Baltimore, then also suited up for the Knicks, Pistons, Hawks and New Orleans Jazz before stepping away from the game in 1975.
"The Atlanta Hawks family is saddened to learn of the death of Walt Bellamy at the age of 74 earlier today. The Hawks and the National Basketball Association have lost a giant," the team said in a statement. "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 averaged 20.1 points, 13.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists over 1,043 career contests. He led the league in field goal percentage (51.9 percent) during his rookie campaign and posted 31.6 points and 19 rebounds per contest en route to Rookie of the Year honors.
A member of the USA's 1960 gold-medal winners, Bellamy was named to four All- Star squads in his distinguished career. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.