Former Dunbar star and NBA pro Walt Wesley dies at 79

Author: Zach Oliveri
Published: Updated:

The community is remembering Walt Wesley, who is considered to be the first NBA player to come from Fort Myers, after his passing at the age of 79.

Wesley started his basketball career at Dunbar High School. For college, Wesley played at the University of Kansas, where he became a two-time All-American for the Jayhawks. Wesley was drafted in 1966 with the sixth pick to the Cincinnati Royals. Wesley played 10 years in the NBA.

After some time coaching, Wesley returned to Fort Myers to be the director of the STARS Complex.

When Wesley was interviewed by WINK News in February, he said he wanted his legacy to be that, “Walt was someone who cared. And he came back and tried to make a difference.”

Dunbar High School principal Carl Burnside shared what made Wesley special.

“He always projected such a sincere sense of humility and humbleness,” Burnside said. “And even gratefulness for his journey. And the way he would interact with people, he may have been 6’11”. And he was truly a giant but he could be in that room and almost blend in.”

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