Walter 'Buddy' Davis
Born: Jan. 5, 1931 in Beaumont, Texas
Walter “Buddy” Davis overcame tremendous obstacles to become an athlete. Both of his legs and his right arm were paralyzed from polio when he was a child. He was unable to walk for three years, but eventually recovered.
Entering Nederland High School in 1944, Davis lettered as a forward in basketball. Standing 6’7” as a junior, he was the team’s starting center. As a senior, he was a giant at 6’8” and tallied more than 60% of his team’s points, getting 648 in 21 games. Davis was three-time All-District player.
He also participated in track, winning the high jump at a district track meet with a leap of 5’8”, without the benefit of any previous practice. As a senior, he won the district with a six-foot leap. He won the regional with a jump of 6’1 ½”. He passed up the state track meet to play baseball on a team that won the district title.
Davis enrolled at Texas A&M in 1948 on a basketball scholarship. He led the freshman basketball team on scoring with 162 points in 12 games. In his first varsity season, he scored 237 points. He also led the nation in fouls, collecting 101 in 24 games.
He also set numerous high jump records. As a senior he set a Texas Relays record by clearing 6’9”, tied for the NCAA title at 6’8” and set a new AAU mark at 6’10 ½”. Davis then won the gold medal in the 1952 Olympics at Helsinki with a record-setting leap of 6 feet, 8.32 inches.
The Philadelphia Warriors selected Davis in the second round of the 1952 NBA Draft. He spent five seasons with the Warriors and St. Louis Hawks, averaging 4.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.