Walt Hazzard

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Walt Hazzard
Walt Hazzard (UCLA).jpg
No. 42, 1, 44
Personal information
Born (1942-04-15)April 15, 1942
Wilmington, Delaware1
Died November 18, 2011(2011-11-18) (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school Overbrook
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
College UCLA (1961–1964)
NBA draft 1964 / Round: Territorial pick
Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers
Pro playing career 1964–1974
Career history
As player:
19641967 Los Angeles Lakers
1967–1968 Seattle SuperSonics
19681971 Atlanta Hawks
19711972 Buffalo Braves
1972–1973 Golden State Warriors
1973–1974 Seattle SuperSonics
As coach:
1985–1988 UCLA
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 9,087 (12.6 ppg)
Rebounds 2,146 (3.0 rpg)
Assists 3,555 (4.9 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Walter Raphael "Walt" Hazzard Jr., later Mahdi Abdul-Rahman (April 15, 1942 – November 18, 2011) was an American college, Olympic and professional basketball player and college basketball coach. He is best known for his association with the men's basketball team at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), having been a star player for that team when it won its first national championship in 1964 and having served as the team's head coach in the 1980s.

UCLA player

Hazzard at UCLA, 1964

Hazzard attended Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his teams went 89-3 and he was named the city's player of the year when he was a senior.1 Hazzard then went on to UCLA, where he became an important player on the varsity basketball team. In Hazzard's first season on the varsity squad, the UCLA Bruins made their first Final Four appearance in the 1962 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. They lost to the eventual champion, the Cincinnati Bearcats in the semi-finals.

UCLA's undefeated season, 1963–64, was in no small part due to Hazzard, his backcourt partner Gail Goodrich, and the team's coach John Wooden. The team won the NCAA Championship, and Hazzard was selected by the Associated Press as the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Following UCLA's victory in the 1964 tournament, Sports Illustrated featured a cover photograph of Walt Hazzard dribbling the basketball up court and the headline, "UCLA Is The Champ. Walt Hazzard Drives Through Duke." Hazzard was chosen as an All-American and also selected as College Player of the Year by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). His number 42 jersey was retired by UCLA in 1996 in Pauley Pavilion, but Hazzard gave his permission for stand-out recruit Kevin Love to wear the number.

Hazzard earned a spot on the 1964 Olympic basketball team for the U.S., which won the gold medal. He was the number 1 draft pick in the NBA draft of 1964 by the Los Angeles Lakers.1

NBA career

Hazzard later played in the NBA, first with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1964–1967, then the Seattle SuperSonics, the Atlanta Hawks, the Buffalo Braves, and briefly for the Golden State Warriors. He returned to the SuperSonics for the 1973-74 season, after which he retired from professional basketball.

While playing for the SuperSonics in their inaugural 1967-68 season, Hazzard scored a career high 24.0 points per game, averaged 6.2 assists per game, and was selected to play in the 1968 NBA All-Star Game.2 Seattle traded him to the Hawks during the off-season for Lenny Wilkens.3 Hazzard's career high average in assists came during the 1969-70 season, when he averaged 6.8 assist per game while playing for the Hawks.

UCLA coach

In 1984, he returned to UCLA as its men's basketball coach, twenty-years after winning the national championship as a player. That same year, he was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.4 He coached for four seasons, winning 77 out of 125 games. The 1984-1985 UCLA Bruin basketball team won the NIT championship. The 1986-1987 UCLA Bruin basketball team won both the Pac-10 regular season championship as well as the inaugural Pacific-10 Conference Men's Basketball Tournament.

He later spent a number of years working for the Los Angeles Lakers, first as an advance scout on the west coast and later as a special consultant.

UCLA coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
UCLA (1984–1988)
1984–85 UCLA 21–12 12–6 3 NIT Champion
1985–86 UCLA 15–14 9–9 4 NIT First Round
1986–87 UCLA 25–7 14–4 1 NCAA Round of 32
1987–88 UCLA 16–14 12–6 2
UCLA: 77–47 47–25
Total: 77–47

      National champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

Personal life and death

During his professional basketball career, Hazzard converted to Islam and changed his name to Mahdi Abdul-Rahman. However, he felt that the name change was poorly received in basketball circles, believing that it cost him opportunities, both during and after his playing career. Therefore, although he remained devout in his Muslim faith, he chose to return to using the name Walt Hazzard professionally.5

Hazzard and his wife, Jaleesa, had four children: Yakub, Jalal, Rasheed, and Khalil, the last being a record producer, well known in hip-hop circles by the stage name DJ Khalil.

On March 22, 1996, Hazzard was hospitalized following a stroke.6 Although he made a substantial recovery over the ensuing years, his health never returned in full and subsequent to his illness he was much less active in the public sphere. Shortly after the stroke, Lakers owner Jerry Buss promised Hazzard's family that he would remain on the team's payroll as long as Buss owned the team; Hazzard remained a Lakers employee for the rest of his life.7 By the middle of 2011, his health had deteriorated significantly and he was hospitalized in intensive care.8 On November 18 of that year, Hazzard died at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center due to complications following heart surgery.9 He was 69. Walt Hazzard is interred at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Foster, Chris (November 19, 2011), "Walt Hazzard dies at 69; former Bruins basketball star and coach", The Los Angeles Times 
  2. ^ "Walt Hazzard, Former Star and Coach for U.C.L.A., Dies at 69", The New York Times, November 18, 2011 
  3. ^ Andrieson, David (October 13, 2007), "Sonics ushered Seattle into the big time 40 years ago Saturday", The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 
  4. ^ UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame
  5. ^ The March Of The Wooden Soldiers
  6. ^ Ex-Bruins coach Hazzard is stable following stroke. Los Angeles Daily News, March 23, 1996.
  7. ^ Shelburne, Ramona (February 19, 2013). "Jerry Buss: A true sports visionary". ESPNLosAngeles.com. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]

External links

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