Chet Walker Rumors
Walker, 72, said he heard last year he might be named to the Hall. But the Veterans Committee instead chose Tom Sanders, a Boston forward who averaged 9.6 points as a defensive specialist from 1960-73. “I was supposed to be in there last year but, for some reason, they took my name off and replaced it with Satch Sanders,” Walker said. “My credentials were so much better (than those of Sanders). I just felt slighted.” Walker said he went so far as to tell Doleva he didn’t want to be considered anymore for the Hall. “I told him, ‘Just take my name off the table. I don’t want to deal with it anymore,’ ” Walker said. “That was the final act (Sanders going in ahead of Walker).” Walker, though, said Doleva stressed he continue to be patient. “He told me, ‘Look, you’re still in contention. Just give us another year,’ ” Walker said. A year passed, and Walker finally got the call. He said it was “nice” to get the news but reiterated he wasn’t overwhelmed with emotion.
The forward retired in 1975 after a 13-year NBA career with Syracuse, Philadelphia and Chicago in which he averaged 18.2 points, was named to seven All-Star Games and won a title with the 76ers in 1967. After a five-year waiting period, Walker had been eligible for the Hall for more than 30 years. “When you sit around for 25 years and you watch people go in with far less credentials than you have, then you have to say to yourself, ‘Something must be wrong,’ ” Walker said about the voting process. “Who knows (why Walker didn’t get in before)? Each year, I’d hear I’d been eliminated by a couple of votes.”
When Basketball Hall of Fame President John Doleva dialed up Chet Walker on Thursday morning at his Los Angeles-area home, Walker’s response basically was, “What took you so long?” “I was happy, but I was not overwhelmed because I think I should have been in a long time ago, to be honest,” Walker said Friday in a telephone interview shortly after the Hall announced five inductees for 2012 during All-Star Weekend in Orlando.
James last week used his free agency to defect from his home-state Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat and join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. ”James is a genius for what he engineered with Wade and Bosh,” Walker said. ”For the first time in league history, players themselves, not an owner or general manager, put together a championship team.”
Gilbert, the Cavaliers’ owner, ripped his former star, calling James’ departure a ”cowardly betrayal.” But what incensed Walker the most was Gilbert’s boastful guarantee to his fans: ”I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one,” Gilbert wrote in a statement shortly after James announced his decision Thursday night during a prime-time ESPN special. ”Gilbert’s an idiot, and you can quote me,” Walker said. ”I’m retired, 70 years old and can’t nobody bother me for speaking my mind. Who’s going to want to come play for Cleveland now that LeBron is gone? But I can see players wanting to come play with LeBron, Wade and Bosh because they’ll have a great chance to win a ring.