For most of his 10-year NBA career, Kemba Walker experienced stardom in one of the smallest markets in the league. In fact, over 8 years, the Hornets/Bobcats were among the worst team in the league many times, even as Walker proved to be a star-caliber player.
Unfortunately, his time with the Hornets came to an end in 2019, after he joined the Celtics in pursuit of greener pastures.
Eventually, his role within the organization deteriorated, and he got blamed for much of their problems over the past two seasons.
But now, with the chance to start fresh in New York, there is a different feeling about this next chapter, and Walker senses that something is different.
“It’s different. I can’t even lie to you,” Walker said of being a Knick. “I was just telling [Taj Gibson] the other day, we come in and every year, every team they come give you sweatsuits and bags. My New York sweatsuit just hit a little bit different than my other sweatsuits from the last couple years. I just feel like me being from here — like, I’m really, really from here. Born and raised in the Bronx, you know? So, it’s definitely just a little bit more special.
I just wanna be that role model for the young kids, because I’ve always felt like if I can do it, anybody can,” Walker continued. “Me, specifically, just being a smaller guy. Always been that way. Always. And I always overcame everything. So, yeah man, I wanna be a role model for all the young kids in New York City. Whatever I can do to help, I’m here.
It’s pretty special. I’ve known Taj for a very long time. He’s been trying to get me to come here forever. So, it’s definitely very, very comforting knowing those guys. They know me. Watching Obi from afar, knowing he’s from New York and then coming here, it’s like we kinda already have that connection, you know? So, we kinda just got along really easy. So, it’s definitely comforting having those guys here and being from New York.”
Being a Knick has always been described as a surreal experience, and just playing in Madison Square Garden can be a life-changing moment for any star.
In Walker's case, he's enjoying every part of the journey but is no doubt making sure his mind stays focused on leading his squad to victory.