Message Board Basketball Forum - InsideHoops

Go Back   Message Board Basketball Forum - InsideHoops > InsideHoops Main Basketball Forums > NBA Forum

NBA Forum NBA Message Board - NBA Fan Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-14-2010, 04:40 AM   #1
Abraham Lincoln
Decent college freshman
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,713
Default NBA Legend Chet Walker interview (1/11/2010)

http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/smith_100111.html









One of the great joys of the job I have is to have gotten to know the pioneers of the NBA and to still be able to hear their analysis and reactions to the game. One of those guys I regularly hear from is Chet Walker, the great former Bull and 76er from Bradley and, at least in my opinion, the most deserving player not in the Basketball Hall of Fame.


Chet’s still a union guy, and he says he hates to see the possibility of Gilbert Arenas losing his contract in the suspension over his guns-in-the-locker room controversy. Still, at the same time, Walker said it pains him to see the abuses from some among players in the game today.
Walker was one of the group of defendants who sued the NBA over the plans to merge the NBA and ABA. The historic settlement of the so-called Oscar Robertson suit (Robertson was players’ association chief) created free agency in the NBA.


“You hate to see the way some players today are abusing everything we worked so hard for and gave up so much for,” says Walker, who faced an effective blackball that prematurely ended his career for his actions with the players’ association. “I wasn’t the only one. There was Oscar (never offered a coach or GM job even as he’s still a successful businessman), Joe Caldwell, Archie Clark. Guys really were kicked out of the league. For these guys like Arenas to abuse all the hard work we went through to enable them to become free agents and make all the money they do is ridiculous.”
But Walker also wonders at the same time why their association was so silent.


“This isn’t common with players,” believes Walker. “The union should have come out and said these are basically good guys working hard for the game and what you saw with Arenas is the exception, only a small percentage of guys. You let it look like this is a league wide thing against the players and I don’t believe that.”


And while Chet was at it, there’s this pet peeve he has living in Los Angeles. It’s a great franchise, but given Hollywood and all not the most sophisticated fan base or media. So if you live in L.A. like Chet does, as he’s still involved in the movie business you constantly read about the Lakers of the last few years being one of the great teams ever. It’s enough to make you… call someone outside L.A.



“Best team!” came Chet’s voice rumbling over the phone. “The best team ever was our (1966-67) 76ers. We played Boston (with Bill Russell and six Hall of Famers) nine times, the Royals with Oscar and Lucas, the Lakers with West and Baylor, some of the best teams in the history of the NBA. There weren’t all these expansion teams. That was the best team in the history of the league and everyone keeps ignoring it. They keep talking about how good the Lakers are. They’re playing marshmallows all season.”

It’s a frequent debate, and generally loses out in this ESPN generation when nothing much mattered before 1979 because there was no tape. So I did a bit of canvassing. Matt Guokas, now the Orlando broadcaster, played on that 76ers team and points out in the league’s 25th anniversary, which came after the Celtics had won eight straight titles, the poll of experts named that 76ers team the best team in NBA history.


That team, truly, was the first to popularize the so-called triangle offense in the pros since Wilt Chamberlain, though he still averaged 24.1 per game, committed to being a passing center, and finished third in the league in assists behind Guy Rodgers and Robertson.


Coach Alex Hannum played with Tex Winter at USC and they learned the triple post (or then center opposite) offense under Sam Barry.


“Wilt was about 30 and had broken every scoring record,” said Guokas. “He didn’t care about that anymore. He wanted to be the catalyst in a team game and still led us in scoring (and led the league with 24 rebounds per game). We called it ‘shape up’ then. Wilt would be in the left block and who had the ball was at the foul line extended and we’d fill the left corner and form the triangle. You had to go into Wilt or he’d have you taken out of the game. There were no set plays, pick and pops, slips. We kind of took it for granted we were expected to win every time. When we lost it was a big deal.”


They won 68 games, but were running so far ahead of even the 60-win Celtics that season Hannum decided to give them a break and stopped in Vegas on a western trip with a few day break. “It wasn’t a good idea,” laughed Guokas about the three game losing streak.

But the 76ers would go on to blow through Royals of Oscar and Lucas three straight after losing the first, the Celtics in five, winning the first three by an average of double figures and then the Warriors of Rick Barry and Nate Thurmond in six.


Wayne Embry, now a consultant with the Raptors, was on that Celtics team. Said Embry: “They toyed with us that season. We came back and beat them in seven in the playoffs the next season, but that one year they probably were the best ever.”
Abraham Lincoln is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 03:54 PM   #2
Abraham Lincoln
Decent college freshman
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,713
Default Re: NBA Legend Chet Walker interview (1/11/2010)

Older one from last year too.

http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/smith_090202.html

2/2/2009


As one Hall of Famer told me recently, "Billy Cunningham is a great player and well deserving (being in the Hall). But he backed up Chet."


Chet laughs at the comparison, long accepting the politics of the game and short memories perhaps too large an obstacle to overcome.


"Not being in the Hall of Fame is good in a way," Chet jokes. "It keeps me in the news with people asking, 'Why is he not there?'


"The last time I was up I think I got 14 votes (of 18 needed out of 24)," Chet says. "They called me and told me I got more than 13. Wouldn't say how many more. But they said that was the most anyone got who didn't get in."

Walker says he doesn't watch the game that much anymore, but does believe guys work hard at it. He says he enjoys most watching the Spurs and the way they play and has liked watching the Magic this season.

His favorite player today?


"Paul Pierce," says Walker. "He's, to me, the ultimate small forward. Good shot and can put the ball on the floor and get to the basket. The kid from New Orleans, Chris Paul. He's a complete player, exciting. He's enthusiastic and brings a lot to the game, like Kobe.


"I concentrate mostly on the forwards," says Walker, who arguably was the fundamental role model of his era, sort of the Tim Duncan of forwards, quiet and effective. "Forward is very important because it's in between. You have to run the break, rebound, play defense away from the basket. I think it's the most talented position in basketball because you have to do so many things. You have to go inside and rebound and then catch up with the guards and fill the lanes."


Walker says, to him, the biggest difference in the game now is the way the floor is open with the three point shot and zone that moves players out of the lane.


"When I played you had Wilt and Russell and Thurmond sitting there waiting for you," says Walker. "You didn't have access to the basket like they have now. Centers stayed inside."
Abraham Lincoln is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 04:05 PM   #3
G.O.A.T
Scott Hastings Fan
 
G.O.A.T's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Metro Detroit
Posts: 5,592
Default Re: NBA Legend Chet Walker interview (1/11/2010)

Thanks for the links, just the kind of stuff I've been tracking down lately
G.O.A.T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2010, 05:04 PM   #4
Niquesports
Good college starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: DC
Posts: 3,242
Default Re: NBA Legend Chet Walker interview (1/11/2010)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln
Older one from last year too.

http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/smith_090202.html

2/2/2009


As one Hall of Famer told me recently, "Billy Cunningham is a great player and well deserving (being in the Hall). But he backed up Chet."


Chet laughs at the comparison, long accepting the politics of the game and short memories perhaps too large an obstacle to overcome.


"Not being in the Hall of Fame is good in a way," Chet jokes. "It keeps me in the news with people asking, 'Why is he not there?'


"The last time I was up I think I got 14 votes (of 18 needed out of 24)," Chet says. "They called me and told me I got more than 13. Wouldn't say how many more. But they said that was the most anyone got who didn't get in."

Walker says he doesn't watch the game that much anymore, but does believe guys work hard at it. He says he enjoys most watching the Spurs and the way they play and has liked watching the Magic this season.

His favorite player today?


"Paul Pierce," says Walker. "He's, to me, the ultimate small forward. Good shot and can put the ball on the floor and get to the basket. The kid from New Orleans, Chris Paul. He's a complete player, exciting. He's enthusiastic and brings a lot to the game, like Kobe.


"I concentrate mostly on the forwards," says Walker, who arguably was the fundamental role model of his era, sort of the Tim Duncan of forwards, quiet and effective. "Forward is very important because it's in between. You have to run the break, rebound, play defense away from the basket. I think it's the most talented position in basketball because you have to do so many things. You have to go inside and rebound and then catch up with the guards and fill the lanes."


Walker says, to him, the biggest difference in the game now is the way the floor is open with the three point shot and zone that moves players out of the lane.


"When I played you had Wilt and Russell and Thurmond sitting there waiting for you," says Walker. "You didn't have access to the basket like they have now. Centers stayed inside."

ITs funny how players are judged by the media or how well liked they are instead of how well they played. Bill Bradley was no where near the player Chet was
Niquesports is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2010, 06:40 AM   #5
Abraham Lincoln
Decent college freshman
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,713
Default Re: NBA Legend Chet Walker interview (1/11/2010)

Abraham Lincoln is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2010, 08:40 AM   #6
G.O.A.T
Scott Hastings Fan
 
G.O.A.T's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Metro Detroit
Posts: 5,592
Default Re: NBA Legend Chet Walker interview (1/11/2010)

http://www.nytimes.com/1995/08/13/sp...l?pagewanted=1


Sports of The Times; The Violence Far From the Court
BY GEORGE VECSEY
Published: August 13, 1995

John Walker beat his wife. Half a century later, his youngest son, Chet, can remember the violence of the words, the violence of the hands.

"I tried to understand what made him so mad all the time," the son has written. "He whipped all of his children for the usual misbehavior. Yet it was my mother who bore the brunt of his verbal and physical abuse -- when he was at home, that is."

These searing visions arrive in a year when Warren Moon of the Minnesota Vikings has publicly apologized to his wife for striking her, when many other athletes are being accused of abusive behavior toward women.

The potential for violence is just one of the themes in a valuable new book titled "Long Time Coming: A Black Athlete's Coming-of-Age in America," by Chet Walker, with Chris Messenger, recently published by Grove Press.

Chet Walker is 20 years past his distinguished career as a quiet, silky forward who held the Chicago Bulls' single-game record of 56 points until a chap named Jordan broke it.

The world was not waiting for a memoir from Chet Walker; this is not one of those churn-it-out star autobiographies, or a dirty-little-secrets book. This is a book from an adult who has some wisdom to share.

Now a film producer in California, Walker won an Emmy for a documentary on Mary Thomas, the mother of Isiah. He knows a thing or two about matriarchs. His own mother, Regenia Walker, summoned the courage to leave her husband and rural Mississippi and head north, for a better life.

On the day of the departure of the rest of his family, John Walker hit Regenia Walker one more time, sending her sprawling. As the older brothers prepared to fight off their father, Regenia Walker gathered herself and said, "Come on, y'all, let's go."

Her dreams were realized in her son Chet, who not only became a college basketball star but also gained an education, scholastic and otherwise. He learned from the black bootstrappers in Benton Harbor, Mich., who coached him and disciplined him and took him to church. And he learned from Wyatt, the lookout man outside the poolroom who warned him to stay away from the hustlers inside, and "second, whatever you do, NEVER TRUST THE WHITE MAN. . . . NEVER." Chet Walker suspended that sound advice occasionally when his instincts told him it was safe.

Walker learned from the gang of coaches who illegally waylaid him on his trip to the University of Nebraska and took him by chartered plane to Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. He learned from the white coach at Bradley who treated him like property. And he learned from black and Asian scholars, as well as two white nuns who stood up in class and pungently spoke out in favor of Martin Luther King in the early 60's.

He describes being too shy to speak in class, afraid that being black and inherently southern would make him sound ignorant. And he earned his degree in four years, leading to his belief that freshmen should not play varsity sports, nor should black athletes be given special treatment for eligibility.

As a professional player in Syracuse, Philadelphia and Chicago, Walker remained elusive, letting others do the leading. He makes a strong case that basketball was more fun, more cerebral, when he played, and he portrays Robertson, Russell, Cousy, Chamberlain, DeBusschere, Baylor and West as great players for any age.

For basketball buffs, Walker offers three fresh memories of his being the intended receiver in the "Havlicek stole the ball" playoff game made famous by the gloating, rasping voice of Johnny Most, the Celtics' announcer: the indecisiveness of Dolph Schayes, the Philadelphia coach; Wilt declining to get the ball because Wilt didn't want to shoot foul shots, and Hal Greer having to adjust his inbounds pass because of the guide wire from the basket to the floor in archaic Boston Garden.

Walker also writes about the 60's, about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and how he, as a liberal black man, campaigned for Hubert Humphrey in 1968.

"We all think our era was the best," Walker said in a recent telephone interview, "but when I played it was a fascinating time. As destructive as the era was, you had the anti-war movement and the civil rights movement. There was something positive. The human race came together. You had a purpose. Today I see a generation without a purpose. The whole purpose of ball players today seems to be money and living in big houses."

Walker keeps up with apparent wave of incidents involving athletes and women, most recently documented in an excellent article by William Nack and Lester Munson in Sports Illustrated.

"I don't think it's only athletes," Walker said. "A lot of men get off on being abusive to women. When I decided to do this book, it was very difficult for me to talk about my father. I was concerned about the image of black men in this country, but I wanted to share it.

"I know what it was like for my father to live in Mississippi," he continued. "You had to say 'Yes, sir' to a 6-year-old white boy. You can't imagine how much damage that did to his manhood. It turned him into a monster."

Not excusing it in any way, Walker attests to a level of rage ticking away in himself, and many other athletes.

"There's a frustration about being an athlete," Walker said. "When your career is not going good, you don't feel like being around people. You're tired and angry. If somebody does something wrong, you could snap.

"When you're angry at the world, the one person you feel should understand you is the person closest to you," he said. "If she makes you feel that pressure, you say, 'You're the enemy, too.' Ball players feel their wives don't understand. There's a great need for psychological counseling for athletes."

Although he talks about many female companions, Walker's most poignant memories are about escorting one woman to an illegal abortionist and how he once grabbed a female friend by the throat, both many years ago.

"A big part of my life has been spent in fleeing from my father's image," Walker writes. "It's probably one of the main reasons I haven't gotten married. I worry about treating women the way he treated my mother."

Chet Walker proudly considers his nieces and his nephews and his documentaries to be his family. Now he has added this memoir to his legacy.
G.O.A.T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-18-2010, 05:55 PM   #7
Niquesports
Good college starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: DC
Posts: 3,242
Default Re: NBA Legend Chet Walker interview (1/11/2010)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln


I have read this book one of the best
Niquesports is offline   Reply With Quote
This NBA Basketball News Website Sponsored by:
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:22 PM.






NBA BASKETBALL FORUM KEY LINKS:
InsideHoops Home
NBA Rumors
Basketball Blog
NBA Daily Recaps
NBA Videos
Fantasy Basketball
Search Site

FOLLOW US
Twitter
Facebook
















Powered by vBulletin Version 3.5.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. Terms of Use/Service | Privacy Policy