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Bellamy of Bullets Fined for Lack of Hustle

Jan. 6, 1964 - Bullets coach Bob Leonard (right) revealed today he has slapped Baltimore’s All-Star game pivotman, Walter Bellamy (pictured #8), with his second $200 fine within 48 hours for failing to hustle and threatened to double the penalty if the 6-11 Bellamy doesn’t change his attitude starting tomorrow night, when the Bullets continue their Western swing in St. Louis. Warned repeatedly with “play or pay” reprimands, Bellamy was penalized the first time Saturday night after the Bullets lost, 123-113, to Philadelphia, a defeat followed by Leonard’s stormy, behind-locked-doors post-game blast. Walt was hit again for his performance in Cincinnati, as the Royals survived a Rod Thorn-sponsored rally, 111-106. “I feel I’ve been a pretty patient guy, but I’m tired of the way he’s performing,” Leonard said today from Cincinnati. “He’s not putting enough into it, and it has reached a point where it is ridiculous. I’ve got nine other fellows — and they may not have the greatest ability in the world — but they come to play. They hustle from start to finish. Now, here’s the unanimous choice for next week’s All-Star game standing around on offense and not going after the crucial rebound. If he doesn’t go, we don’t go. He’s the highest-priced player on this club, and it’s about time he starts playing like one. I warned him. I babied him. Now, I’m just going to start hitting him in the pocketbook.”

Bellamy reportedly had run-ins with his previous mentors, Jim Pollard and Jack McMahon, over the same issue when the franchise was operating out of Chicago. McMahon told friends Bellamy’s attitude was one of the main reasons he got fired. McMahon, now guiding Cincinnati, was replaced by Leonard halfway through the 1961-62 campaign. Bellamy currently is averaging 26.6 points per game and has grabbed 601 rebounds. But there have been long, dry spells in many outings. He was especially sub-par over the weekend, going 15-for-39, while New York’s Billy McGill outscored him, 21-18, and Philadelphia’s aging Johnny Kerr and Cincinnati’s Wayne Embry did the same, 19-18 and 27-15 respectively.


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