Longtime Richmond resident and former Harlem Globetrotter Leroy Walker recently celebrated his 70th birthday, at the Rockefeller Lodge in San Pablo where friends and relatives shared childhood memories, basketball stories and fish tales about the local businessman.
Among those attending were Elzer Minor, Joe Fisher of BAPAC. Carl Adams and Donald Hampton, as well as George Bell, a longtime friend and colleague of Walker in the insurance industry, and football greats Roy Shivers and James Harris, who attended college with Walker before he was drafted into professional sports.
Walker was born in Monroe, Louisiana. His family relocated to Richmond in 1944 during World War II. The youth quickly acclimated to his new surroundings. He attended Richmond Union High School where he was lauded for his athletic prowess.
He continued to play basketball at Contra Costa College and earned a full athletic scholarship to Utah State University.
In 1965, Walker was drafted to play pro ball for the Saint Louis Hawks, now known as the Atlanta Hawks. To his disappointment, he was released during the pre-season games.
That same year, Walker was drafted to play for the original Harlem Globetrotters of Chicago. There he played for two seasons before leaving due to a knee injury.
Today, Walker and his wife Shirley live in El Sobrante. He and his wife own and operate Tilman Tax & Business Service located at 3601 MacDonald Ave. in Richmond.