Walt Wesley Way unveiled in honor of local legend

Writer: Sylvie Sparks
Published: Updated:

The late Walt Wesley is a local legend. 

That is how most of us know him because of basketball, but to the people who knew and loved Walt well, what really shined was his caring and devoted character, especially to his hometown. 

Now he will be forever remembered for his on and off the court impact. 

Take a drive down Lincoln Blvd. in Fort Myers and you will notice above the street sign is another that reads ‘Honorary Walt Wesley Way’ named for the late Dunbar basketball star and first Fort Myers native to play in the NBA.

Walt’s wife Denise told WINK News Walt would be humbled by the recognition. 

My husband was regarded as the gentle giant,” Denise Wesley said. “Seeing his name up above the other two street signs there really epitomizes his character.”

After graduating from Dunbar in 1962, Walt had a legendary career as a Kansas Jayhawk and played professionally for ten years before coaching collegiately. 

Through all of his success, Walt never forgot where he came from.

“He always talked about through pro ball, through playing, through coaching, everything that he wanted to come back to his hometown one day and contribute and make a difference because not too many people do,” Denise Wesley said.

The Wesley’s moved back to Fort Myers and Walt took on several roles including being the director of the Police Athletic League and the S.T.A.R.S Complex.

Walt’s family, fraternity brothers and members of his church remember him as someone who cared about Fort Myers and the Dunbar community.

That’s what earned him an honorary street name in his hometown.

Walt Wesley Way serves as a reminder of just how much he cared about the city’s youth. 

WINK News asked Denise what she hopes kids today learn from her husband’s legacy and it has nothing to do with basketball. 

She said Walt would tell anyone that getting an education is the most important thing you can do to set yourself up for success.

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