Walter Davis, an NBA All-Star and one of the biggest University of North Carolina basketball stars, died at the age 69 Thursday.
Davis was visiting family in Charlotte when he died of natural causes, the university announced.
A Pineville, North Carolina native, Davis is regarded as one of the best shooters to ever put on a Tar Heels uniform, as he was two-time All-ACC honoree in 1976-77. In his senior season, he led North Carolina to an ACC Tournament title and NCAA championship game appearance, where the Tar Heels lost to Marquette. He would finish his career in Chapel Hill with 1,863 points, 670 rebounds and 409 assists while playing for head coach Dean Smith.
Despite the accolades, Davis is known for what he did in his freshman season. In 1974, North Carolina was trailing rival Duke by eight points in the final minute of regulation. The Tar Heels made a miraculous comeback in the final 17 seconds, capped off with Davis drilling the game-tying shot as the buzzer went off. North Carolina would eventually win the game in overtime, but the shot lived on in Tar Heel history.
"It is one of the most iconic moments in college basketball and, even as a freshman, cemented his place in Carolina Basketball history," the university said.
Before heading to the NBA, Davis was part of the Team USA basketball team in the 1976 Olympics, winning gold. He would then have his No. 24 jersey hanging in the rafters of Dean E. Smith Center, and he is the uncle of current North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis.
Davis was drafted fifth overall in the 1977 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, and would become the rookie of the year after averaging 24.2 points a game in his first season. He would spend 11 seasons in Phoenix, which included six All-Star selections and two All-NBA selections. He led the team to eight straight playoff appearances from 1978 to 1985, including a Western Conference Finals appearance in 1984.
The final years of Davis' time in Phoenix was notable for his involvement in the team's 1987 drug scandal. Davis testified in court about his teammates use of illegal drugs in exchange for immunity.
After leaving Phoenix in 1988, Davis spent time with the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers, finishing his 15-year pro career in 1992. Davis retired as Phoenix's all-time leading scorer at 15,666 points, and his No. 6 jersey was retired by the organization in 1994.