Davis, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, first stood out with the Tar Heels and won a gold medal with Team USA in 1976 — back when Olympic basketball still consisted of amateur players.
He was selected with the No. 5 overall pick by the Suns in the 1977 NBA Draft, and went on to have his best seasons in Phoenix — as he remains the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. The Suns retired his No. 6 jersey.
In 15 NBA seasons, Davis averaged 18.9 points, 3.8 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals, shooting 51 percent from the field. He also spent time with the Nuggets and Trail Blazers at the end of his career.
He retired in 1992 after making six All-Star teams, all while with Phoenix.
Former NBA guard and current North Carolina coach Hubert Davis is Walter Davis’ nephew.
Per the UNC press release:
“Davis (69) was one of the best shooters in Carolina basketball history. A member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the Pineville, N.C., native was a two-time All-ACC honoree in 1976 and as a senior in 1977, when he led the Tar Heels to an ACC Tournament title and appearance in the NCAA championship game.
“He scored 1,863 points, grabbed 670 rebounds and had 409 assists playing for head coach Dean Smith.
“This season is the 50th anniversary of Davis’s 25-foot shot at the buzzer against Duke that capped an eight-point comeback in the final 17 seconds of regulation to send the game to overtime, where the Tar Heels won. It is one of the most iconic moments in college basketball and, even as a freshman, cemented his place in Carolina Basketball history.”
Hoops Wire sends our deepest condolences to Davis’ loved ones.