Arni's Birthday Zoom: Purdue Hall of Famer Walter Jordan

On3 imageby:Alan Karpick02/20/24

AlanKarpick

Arni's Birthday Zoom; Purdue hoops Hall of Famer Walter Jordan

We celebrate the 68th Birthday of Purdue Hall of Fame men’s basketballer Walter Jordan with him from his home in Atlanta, Georgia. The effervescent Jordan, who was voted into the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame in the 2022 class, shares his thoughts and emotions on his life to date, including a long-time basketball career.

Here is more about Jordan from his Hall of Fame induction:

Raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Walter Jordan came to Purdue with all the high school accolades you can imagine. He led Northrop to the 1974 Indiana State High School Championship against Jeffersonville and future classmate Wayne Walls. He was a starter for the Indiana All-Stars against Kentucky and the Soviet Dream Teams. He averaged almost 20 points and eight rebounds a game as a skinny 6-foot, 7-inch forward, and was named Northrop’s Outstanding Athlete and received Fort Wayne’s Sertoma Club Award.

So, when he arrived at Purdue, all he did was carry on that success during an era that he considers one of the best times of Big Ten basketball.

“Playing at Purdue was a very special time obviously, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Jordan said. “I firmly believe we played in one of the most-talented and toughest eras in Big Ten history. The coaches and players in the league were Hall of Fame worthy, and only 32 teams made the NCAA Tournament. We loved playing in the big games and the love affair between the team and fans will never be forgotten. It was really a special time for Boilermaker Basketball.”

Jordan made an immediate impact at Purdue. At the time, he set the school record for most points scored in a season by a Purdue freshman with 394 points, a number that still ranks third behind Russell Cross (540, 1981) and E’Twaun Moore (437, 2008) today. His 14.1 points per game scoring average as a freshman is second behind Cross (16.9) and his 205 rebounds are third behind another Fort Wayne legend, Caleb Swanigan (282, 2016) and future No. 1 NBA Draft pick, Joe Barry Carroll (206, 1977).

It truly was one of the best freshman seasons in school history and was a prelude of what was to come.

Jordan still ranks in the top-10 on the Purdue career scoring chart (1,813 points), 11th on the career scoring average list (16.6 ppg) and fifth on the career rebounds list (882). He heard his named called in the starting lineup for 102 straight games, the third-longest streak in school history.

During Jordan’s four years at Purdue, the Boilermakers advanced to just their second NCAA Tournament in school history, finished in the top four of the Big Ten standings all four years and owned a memorable win over Michigan State and the Magic Johnson-led Spartans. But mostly, the opportunity to play with his teammates made it special. He was also nicknamed “Cheerleader” for his towel-waving antics during the introduction of the starting lineups – a tactic that set Mackey Arena into a frenzy.

Jordan was also able to compete with Fort Wayne native and friend, the late Eugene Parker. Jordan and Parker formed a bond while in Fort Wayne at rival high schools – Jordan at Northrop and Parker at Concordia. The two would frequent outdoor courts in Fort Wayne for “friendly” one-on-one competitions and it was must-see action when the two rival schools collided during the winter months.

The respect was immense between both of them and they were quite a pair on the basketball court, both being named All-Big Ten selections at least twice during their careers. They were as formidable a duo that Purdue Basketball has ever had.

Jordan played one year in the NBA, overseas in Spain, in the CBA for four seasons and in the WBA for one year, earning first-team All-WBA accolades that season.

More on Jordan’s Book “Gracefully Broken”

Audio (coming soon)

Recent Birthday Zooms of Purdue athletes

Tim Newton (Dec. 5, 2023)

Billy Keller (Aug. 30, 2023)

Howell Wheaton turns 100 (Aug. 17, 2023)

Ben McCall (July 31, 2023)

Terone Johnson (July 13, 2023)

Kelly Komara (June 20, 2023)

Warren “Ike” Moore (May 30, 2023)

Jeff Zgonina (May 24, 2023)

Jermaine Ross, April 27, 2023

Matt Kiefer, April 22, 2023

Ralph Taylor, March 30, 2023

Kip Jones, March 24, 2023

Jake Thieneman, Feb. 28, 2023

Tommy Luce Feb. 21, 2023

Rob Henry, Jan. 26, 2023

Mack Gadis, Jan. 20, 2023

John Volk, Dec. 31, 2022

Gerald Thomas, Dec. 25, 2022

Jerry Sichting, Nov. 29, 2022

Kyle Orton, Nov. 14, 2022

Other Arni’s Birthday Zoom links

Frank Kendrick (9/11/2020)

Akin Ayodele (9/17/2020)

Brandon McKnight (9/25/2020)

Ryne Smith (10/1/2020)

Kenneth Lowe (10/6/2020)

Dave Schellhase (10/14/2020)

Dolapo Macarthy (10/23/2020)

Robert Maci (10/31/2020)

Scott Downing (11/7/2020)

Rich Ostriker (11/18/2020)

Ray Wallace (12/3/2020)

Keaton Grant (12/8/2020)

Mike Robinson (12/31/2020):

Mark Herrmann (1/8/2021)

Dave Shondell (1/17/2021)

Anthony Spencer (1/23/2021):

Elliot Bloom (1/29/2021):

Mike Steele (2/3/2021)

Jim Wood (2/11/2021)

Ryan Isaac (2/16/2021)

PJ Thompson (2/24/2021)

Calvin Williams (3/3/2021)

Everett Pickens (3/24/2021)

Ryan Berning (4/1/2021)

Jim Niedrach (4/8/2021)

Scott Campbell (4/15/2021)

Lamar Conard (4/22/2021)

Jane (Calhoun) Schott (5/5/2021)

Shaun Phillips (5/13/2021)

Gene Keady (5/21/2021)

Tommie Thomas (5/28/2021)

Rock Supan (6/1/2021):

Isaiah Thompson (6/12/2021)

Danny Dierking (6/15/2021)

Justin Jennings (6/25/2021)

Maynard Lewis (7/3/2021)

Ben Jones (7/7/2021)

Jimmy Oliver (7/12/2021)

Ian Allen (7/22/2021)

Joey Elliott (8/2/2021)

Howell Wheaton (8/17/2021)

Gregory Phillips (9/14/2021)

Edwin Watson (9/29/2021)

Steve Reid (10/14/2021):

David Nugent (10/27/2021)

Tony Visco (11/11/2021)

Desmond Tardy (11/24/2021)

Danny Ezechukwu (12/7/2021)

Brock Spack (1/5/2022)

Mike Marks (2/17/2022)

Life of Eugene Parker (2/24/2022)

Tim Spiker (3/23/2022):

Lauren Mioton-Connor (4/20/2022)

Bobby Riddell (4/27/2022)

Lee Brush (5/19/2022)

A.T Simpson (5/26/2022)

Stephanie White (6/20/2022)

Elijah Sindelar (6/27/2022)

Tim Stratton (7/15/2022)

Todd Mitchell (7/26/2022)

Ryan Kerrigan (8/16/2022)

Rapheal Davis (8/30/2022)

Carl Landry (9/16/2022)

Don Coller (10/14/2022) 

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