Walt Hazzard

Last updated

Walt Hazzard
Walt Hazzard (UCLA).jpg
Personal information
Born(1942-04-15)April 15, 1942
Wilmington, Delaware [1]
DiedNovember 18, 2011(2011-11-18) (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California
Listed height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school Moton (Easton, Maryland)
Overbrook (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
College UCLA (1961–1964)
NBA draft 1964 / Round: Territorial pick
Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers
Playing career1964–1974
Position Guard
Number42, 1, 44
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
As player
As coach
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 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 was 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.

College basketball Amateur Basketball consisting of current students of colleges or universities.

College basketball today is governed by collegiate athletic bodies including the United States's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA), the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Governing bodies in Canada include U Sports and the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). Each of these various organizations are subdivided into from one to three divisions based on the number and level of scholarships that may be provided to the athletes.

Olympic Games major international sport event

The modern Olympic Games or Olympics are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are held every four years, with the Summer and Winter Games alternating by occurring every four years but two years apart.

Professional person who is paid to undertake a specialized set of tasks and to complete them for a fee

A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform their specific role within that profession. In addition, most professionals are subject to strict codes of conduct, enshrining rigorous ethical and moral obligations. Professional standards of practice and ethics for a particular field are typically agreed upon and maintained through widely recognized professional associations, such as the IEEE. Some definitions of "professional" limit this term to those professions that serve some important aspect of public interest and the general good of society.


College career

Hazzard at UCLA (1964) Walt Hazzard 1964.jpg
Hazzard at UCLA (1964)

Hazzard attended Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, 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 a key 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 Toournament. They lost 72-70 to Cincinnati, the eventual champion, in the semi-finals.

Overbrook High School (Philadelphia)

Overbrook High School is a public, four-year secondary school in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia, in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

1961–62 Cincinnati Bearcats mens basketball team

The 1961–62 Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball team represented University of Cincinnati. For the second time in a row, Cincinnati defeated Ohio State for the National Title 71–59 before 18,469 at Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY. The head coach was Ed Jucker.

UCLA's first undefeated season of 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 its first 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.

Gail Goodrich American basketball player

Gail Charles Goodrich Jr. is an American retired professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is best known for scoring a then record 42 points for UCLA in the 1965 NCAA championship game vs. Michigan, and his part in the Los Angeles Lakers' 1971–72 season. During that season the team won a still-record 33 consecutive games, posted what was at the time the best regular season record in NBA history, and also won the franchise's first NBA championship since relocating to Los Angeles. Goodrich was the leading scorer on that team. He is also acclaimed for leading UCLA to its first two national championships under the legendary coach John Wooden, the first in 1963–64 being a perfect 30-0 season when he played with teammate Walt Hazzard. In 1996, 17 years after his retirement from professional basketball, Goodrich was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

John Wooden American basketball coach

John Robert Wooden was an American basketball player and head coach at the University of California, Los Angeles. Nicknamed the "Wizard of Westwood," he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a row. No other team has won more than four in a row in Division 1 college men's or women's basketball. Within this period, his teams won an NCAA men's basketball record 88 consecutive games. Wooden won the prestigious Henry Iba Award as national coach of the year a record seven times and won the AP award five times. He also won a Helms national championship at Purdue as a player 1931–1932 for a total of 10 NCAA Titles and 1 Helms Championships

Associated Press American multinational nonprofit news agency

The Associated Press (AP) is a U.S.-based not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City. Founded in 1846, it operates as a cooperative, unincorporated association. Its members are U.S. newspapers and broadcasters. Its Statement of News Values and Principles spells out its standards and practices.

Hazzard and Bill Bradley earned a spot on the 1964 Olympic basketball team for the U.S., which unsurprisingly won the gold medal. He was pre-draft territorial pick in 1964 by the Los Angeles Lakers. [1]

Bill Bradley American politician

William Warren Bradley is an American politician and former professional basketball player. He served three terms as a Democratic U.S. Senator from New Jersey. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Party's nomination for president in the 2000 election.

Basketball at the 1964 Summer Olympics

Basketball contests at the 1964 Summer Olympics took place at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan from October 11 to October 23. The United States defeated the Soviet Union to win their sixth straight gold medal at this event, while Brazil earned the bronze against Puerto Rico.

Los Angeles Lakers American professional basketball team

The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Lakers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member of the league's Western Conference in the Pacific Division. The Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, an arena shared with the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association, and the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League. The Lakers are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA, and have won 16 NBA championships, the second-most behind the Boston Celtics.

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.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men's professional basketball league in North America; composed of 30 teams. It is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world. The NBA is an active member of USA Basketball (USAB), which is recognized by FIBA as the national governing body for basketball in the United States. The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. NBA players are the world's best paid athletes by average annual salary per player.

Seattle SuperSonics Professional basketball team based in Seattle, Washington, USA 1967–2008

The Seattle SuperSonics, commonly known as the Sonics, were an American professional basketball team based in Seattle, Washington. The SuperSonics played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member club of the league's Western Conference Pacific and Northwest divisions from 1967 until 2008. After the 2007–08 season ended, the team relocated to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and now plays as the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Atlanta Hawks American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia

The Atlanta Hawks are an American professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Southeast Division. The team plays its home games at State Farm Arena.

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.

The 1967–68 NBA season was the 22nd season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Boston Celtics winning the NBA Championship, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals.

Assist (basketball)

In basketball, an assist is attributed to a player who passes the ball to a teammate in a way that leads to a score by field goal, meaning that he or she was "assisting" in the basket. There is some judgment involved in deciding whether a passer should be credited with an assist. An assist can be scored for the passer even if the player who receives the pass makes a basket after dribbling the ball. However, the original definition of an assist did not include such situations, so the comparison of assist statistics across eras is a complex matter.

The 1968 NBA All-Star Game was an exhibition basketball game which was played at Madison Square Garden in New York City, January 23, 1968.

NBA career statistics

  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage 3P%  3-point field goal percentage FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game APG  Assists per game SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game PPG Points per game Bold Career high

Regular season

1964–65 Los Angeles 66-13.9.382-.6481.72.1--4.2
1965–66 Los Angeles 80-27.5.457-.7082.74.9--13.7
1966–67 Los Angeles 79-20.8.426-.7292.94.1--9.3
1967–68 Seattle 79-33.7.441-.7744.26.2--24.0
1968–69 Atlanta 80-30.3.397-.7073.35.9--11.2
1969–70 Atlanta 82-33.6.467-.8094.06.8--15.3
1970–71 Atlanta 82-35.1.459-.7593.76.3--16.5
1971–72 Buffalo 72-33.2.451-.7823.05.6--15.8
1972–73 Buffalo 9-14.9.417-.5001.11.9--5.9
1972–73 Golden State 46-13.7.418-.8631.72.4--4.5
1973–74 Seattle 49-11.7.422-.7561.


1965–66 Los Angeles 7-16.9.333-.7502.64.3--7.6
1966–67 Los Angeles 14-24.3.493-.6192.93.1--11.9
1967–68 Los Angeles 3-28.7.240-.8002.75.3--6.7
1969–70 Atlanta 11-32.7.393-.7873.03.9--14.0
1970–71 Atlanta 7-36.4.500-.6253.47.7--21.4
1971–72 Atlanta 5-40.4.329-.8005.05.4--14.0
1973–74 Golden State 11-19.5.357-1.0001.82.5--6.5

Coaching career

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. However, after the 1987-88 Bruins finished only two games above .500 — the closest they had come to a losing record in 40 years — Hazzard was fired.

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.

Head coaching record

UCLA Bruins (Pacific-10 Conference)(1984–1988)
1984–85 UCLA 21–1212–63rd NIT Champion
1985–86 UCLA 15–149–94th NIT First Round
1986–87 UCLA 25–714–41st NCAA Division I Second Round
1987–88 UCLA 16–1412–62nd

      National champion        Postseason invitational 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. His grandsons, Jacob and Max Hazzard, Jacob is a former walk-on basketball player at Arizona, Max plays basketball for Arizona.

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.

Related Research Articles

Jerry Buss American businessman and real estate investor

Gerald Hatten Buss was an American businessman, investor, chemist, and philanthropist. He was the majority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers professional basketball team in the National Basketball Association (NBA), winning 10 league championships that were highlighted by the team's Showtime era during the 1980s. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor. Buss owned other professional sports franchises in Southern California.

Jerome "Pooh" Richardson is an American former National Basketball Association (NBA) player. he was selected in the first round of the 1989 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, the first draft pick in franchise history. He would also play for the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Clippers during his 10-year NBA career from 1989 to 1999.

Marques Johnson American basketball player

Marques Kevin Johnson is an American retired professional basketball player. The small forward played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1977–1989, where he was a five-time All-Star. He spent the majority of his career with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Lucius Allen American basketball player

Lucius Oliver Allen, Jr. is an American former professional basketball player.

The 1979–80 NBA season was the 34th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Championship, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals, and is notable for being the year in which the three-point field goal was adopted.

Gregory Clinton Foster is an American retired professional basketball player. He currently is an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks after spending 2013–14 season as the assistant for player development of the Philadelphia 76ers and assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The 1964 NBA draft was the 18th annual draft of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The draft was held on May 4, 1964, before the 1964–65 season. In this draft, nine NBA teams took turns selecting amateur U.S. college basketball players. A player who had finished his four-year college eligibility was eligible for selection. If a player left college early, he would not be eligible for selection until his college class graduated. In each round, the teams select in reverse order of their win–loss record in the previous season. Before the draft, a team could forfeit its first-round draft pick and then select any player from within a 50-mile (80 km) radius of its home arena as their territorial pick. The draft consisted of 15 rounds comprising 101 players selected.

Charles OBannon American basketball player

Charles Edward O'Bannon Sr. is an American former professional basketball player. He played college basketball with the UCLA Bruins. He was a two-time first-team all-conference player in the Pac-10 and teamed with brother Ed to help the Bruins win a national championship in 1995. O'Bannon played two seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Detroit Pistons and also played overseas in Japan, Poland, and Italy.

UCLA Bruins mens basketball

The UCLA Bruins men's basketball program represents the University of California, Los Angeles in the sport of men's basketball as a member of the Pac-12 Conference. Established in 1919, the program has won a record 11 NCAA titles. Coach John Wooden led the Bruins to 10 national titles in 12 seasons, from 1964 to 1975, including seven straight from 1967 to 1973. UCLA went undefeated a record four times. Coach Jim Harrick led the team to another NCAA title in 1995. Former coach Ben Howland led UCLA to three consecutive Final Four appearances from 2006 to 2008. As a member of the AAWU, Pacific-8 and then Pacific-10, UCLA set a NCAA Division I record with 13 consecutive regular season conference titles between 1967 and 1979 which stood until passed by Kansas in 2018.

John Vallely American basketball player

John Vallely is an American former professional basketball player from Balboa Island, Newport Beach, California who played for UCLA and in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

The 1967–68 Seattle SuperSonics season was the inaugural season for the expansion Seattle SuperSonics franchise in the National Basketball Association. The team's official arena was the Seattle Center Coliseum.

The 1967 NBA Expansion Draft was the third expansion draft of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The draft was held on May 1, 1967, so that the newly founded San Diego Rockets and Seattle SuperSonics could acquire players for the upcoming 1967–68 season. Seattle and San Diego had been awarded the expansion teams on December 20, 1966, and January 11, 1967, respectively. The Rockets moved to Houston, Texas, in 1971 and are currently known as the Houston Rockets. The SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City, in 2008 and are currently known as the Oklahoma City Thunder. In an NBA expansion draft, new NBA teams are allowed to acquire players from the previously established teams in the league. Not all players on a given team are available during an expansion draft, since each team can protect a certain number of players from being selected. The Rockets and the Sonics selected fifteen unprotected players each, while the ten other NBA teams lost three players each.

1963–64 UCLA Bruins mens basketball team

The 1963–64 UCLA Bruins men's basketball team won its first NCAA National Basketball Championship under head coach John R. Wooden in his 16th year at UCLA. Assistant coach Jerry Norman convinced a reluctant Wooden to use the zone press, which the team had never utilized before. The press quickened the pace of the game and was influential in the first two national titles won by the Bruins, who were undersized.

The 1984–85 UCLA Bruins men's basketball team represented the University of California, Los Angeles. The Bruins received their first invitation to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in school history. The team went 5–0 and defeated the Indiana Hoosiers in the final; Reggie Miller was named the tournament's most valuable player.

Keith Kensel Owens is an American former professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association. The forward played one season with the Lakers in the 1991–92 season. He played college basketball for four seasons for the UCLA Bruins from 1987 through 1991.

The men's college basketball program of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) was founded in 1920 and is known competitively as the UCLA Bruins. The Bruins have won 11 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men's Division I Basketball Championships, the most of any school. UCLA players have been assigned jersey numbers ranging from 0 to 78 in the team's history. The school no longer issues 10 retired numbers in honor of former players. To qualify, a player must have been a three-time consensus All-American, a consensus national player of the year, or been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The retired numbers are displayed in the rafters of the Bruins' home arena, Pauley Pavilion. UCLA's legendary coach John Wooden generally opposed having numbers retired.

The 1987–88 UCLA Bruins men's basketball team represented the University of California, Los Angeles in the 1987–88 NCAA Division I men's basketball season. UCLA hosted the #12 Temple Owls and the #4 North Carolina Tarheels. UCLA lost their home game to the #3 Wildcats 76-78 in overtime. The Bruins finished tied for second place in the Pac-10 behind Arizona. In the Pac-10 Tournament UCLA was upset in their first game vs. Washington St. The Bruins did not play in any post season tournaments after that for the first time in four years. Walt Hazzard who had played for UCLA under John Wooden, coached for his fourth and final year at UCLA.

Jack Hirsch is a former college basketball player for the UCLA Bruins. He was the starting forward on the Bruins' national championship team in 1964, when he served as co-captain along with Walt Hazzard. Hirsch also earned all-conference honors that season. He later became an assistant coach in college, and served as the top assistant to Hazzard. Hazzard and Hirsch coached at UCLA from 1984 to 1988. Hirsch was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.


  1. 1 2 3 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.