Walt Bellamy, the hall of fame center who averaged 20.1 points and 13.7 rebounds in 14 seasons in the NBA, died Saturday in Atlanta. He was 74.
The Atlanta Hawks confirmed the death, but didn’t provide details. The Hawks said Bellamy attended the team’s home opener Friday night.
“Walt Bellamy was an enormously gifted hall of fame player who had a tremendous impact on our game,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement released by the league. “Off the court, he was an even more extraordinary person. Walt is going to be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. On behalf of the entire NBA family, our condolences and thoughts go out to Walt’s family.”
The former Indiana University star won an Olympic gold medal in 1960 and was the first overall pick by the Chicago Packers in 1961. He was the rookie of the year with Chicago, averaging 31.6 points and 19.0 rebounds, and also played for the Baltimore Bullets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta and New Orleans Jazz. He played in four All-Star games and was inducted into the hall of fame in 1993.
Bellamy was traded three times, going from the Bullets to the Knicks in November 1965 for Jim Barnes, Johnny Egan, Johnny Green and cash, then to Detroit along with Howard Komives in December 1968 in the deal that brought star forward Dave DeBusschere to New York.
Detroit sent Bellamy to Atlanta in February 1970 for John Arthurs.
In three seasons at Indiana, the 6-foot-11 former New Bern, N.C., high school star averaged 20.6 points and 15.5 rebounds.
Nets’ Blatche fined
Brooklyn center-forward Andray Blatche was fined $15,000 by the NBA on Saturday for making an obscene gesture in the Nets’ game against Miami on Friday night.
Blatche made the gesture with 2:40 left in the Nets’ 101-100 victory.
Minnesota loses center
Minnesota Timberwolves center Ronny Turiaf is out indefinitely with a fractured right elbow.
Turiaf was injured Friday night in Minnesota’s victory over Oklahoma City when he took a nasty spill after getting tangled up with Nick Collison.
The Wolves initially called it a contusion. But an MRI on Saturday revealed the fracture.
Turiaf will not need surgery. But the team says he will be re-evaluated next week before they can determine how long he will be out.
It’s likely to be at least a few weeks, which puts a dent in the Timberwolves’ frontcourt depth.
Turiaf was signed to back up Nikola Pekovic. Now rookie Gorgui Dieng will see his playing time increase while Turiaf is out.