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Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker.jpg
Walker playing for the Bobcats
No. 8 – New York Knicks
Position Point guard
Personal information
Born May 8, 1990 (1990-05-08) (age 31)
The Bronx, New York
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight 184 lbs (83 kg)
Career information
High school Rice
(New York)
College Connecticut (2008-2011)
NBA Draft 2011 / Round: 1 / Pick: 9th
Selected by the Charlotte Bobcats
Playing career 2011–present (10 years)
Career history
20112019 Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets
20192021 Boston Celtics
2021–present New York Knicks
Career highlights and awards
  • 3x NBA All-Star (2017-2020)
  • NBA Sportsmanship Award (2017)
  • NBA Rookie Challenge MVP (2011)
  • NBA Rising Star (2012)
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team (2011)
  • NCAA champion (2011)
  • Consensus first team All-American (2010)
  • Adolph Rupp Trophy (2010)
  • SEC Player of the Year (2010)
  • SEC Tournament MVP (2010)
  • First team All-SEC (2010)
  • All-SEC Rookie team (2010)

Kemba Hudley Walker (born May 8, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Walker was picked ninth overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2011 NBA draft. He grew up in The Bronx, New York. After graduating from Rice High School in 2008, he played college basketball for the Connecticut Huskies. In their 2010–11 season, Walker was the nation's second-leading scorer and was named consensus first-team All-American; he also led the Huskies to the 2011 NCAA championship and claimed the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. Walker is a four-time NBA All-Star.

High School career

In his junior year, Walker played against Simeon Career Academy and senior guard Derrick Rose in Madison Square Garden in a 53–51 win.[1] During Walker's senior year he averaged 18.2 points per game and 5.3 assists per game,[2] earning him a spot on the prestigious McDonald's All-American Team. Walker played for the New York Gauchos AAU basketball program with fellow Big East players Jordan Theodore, Darryl "Truck" Bryant, Devin Hill, and Danny Jennings. The team went on to finish #1 in the nation. Following high school he agreed to play for the University of Connecticut.

College career

During his freshman year at UConn, Walker played in every game. He helped the Huskies achieve a number one seed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Despite starting in only two games he averaged 25.5 minutes per game, far more than any regular non-starter.[3] He also helped the Huskies go to the 2009 Final Four with a 23 point effort in the Elite Eight vs Missouri. Walker appeared on one of the six regional covers Sports Illustrated. Twelve games into his junior campaign, Walker was the nation's leading scorer, averaging 26.7 points per game. In addition, he averaged five rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.

In the 2011 Big East Tournament (during his junior year), Walker hit the game winning shot as time expired to beat #3 overall Pittsburgh and advance UConn to the semi-finals. He led UConn to victory over University of Louisville in the Big East Championship game and was named MVP for the tournament. Walker scored 130 points in five games, a Big East Tournament record and the most points scored in any conference tournament in the past 15 seasons. UConn became the first school to win five games in five days to earn a conference championship.[4]

On March 14, 2011, The United States Basketball Writers Association named Walker a first team All-American.[5] He was picked to the Second Team All-America by Fox Sports. He was also a finalist for College Basketball Player of the Year honors due to his performance in the 2010-11 season. Although he finished second (to Jimmer Fredette), two journalists thought that Walker was the best player in college basketball that year. Walker was named the winner of the Bob Cousy Award for the top point guard in the nation.[6] On April 4, 2011 Walker led the University of Connecticut with 16 points in winning the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, and was named the NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player.[7] Walker was added to the Huskies of Honor upon the team's return from Houston at a pep rally to celebrate the National Title. He became the first men's basketball player to receive the honor since inaugural class was announced in December 2006.[8]

College statistics

College Year GP GS MIN FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Connecticut 2008–09 36 2 25.2 .470 .271 .715 3.5 2.9 1.1 0.2 8.9
Connecticut 2009–10 34 34 35.2 .405 .339 .767 4.3 5.0 2.0 0.4 14.6
Connecticut 2010–11 41 41 37.6 .428 .330 .819 5.4 4.5 1.9 0.2 23.5
Career 111 77 32.8 .428 .325 .782 4.3 4.4 1.7 0.2 16.1

Professional career

Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets (2011–2019)

2011–12 season

Walker graduated from UConn in 3 years. Accordingly, he entered the 2011 NBA draft and was selected 9th overall by the Charlotte Bobcats. Walker signed a multi-year shoe deal with Under Armour, the first rookie from the 2011 Draft Class to do so.

On December 11, 2011, he signed the rookie scale contract with the Bobcats, and with the injury of point guard D. J. Augustin, he became their starting point guard for the lockout-shortened season. On January 28, 2012, in a home game against the Washington Wizards, he achieved his first triple-double with 20 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds, joining Boris Diaw and Stephen Jackson as the only Bobcats in team history to record one. Walker participated in the 2012 Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend.

2012–13 season

On November 14, 2012, Walker hit the first game-winner of his NBA career against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He finished the game with 22 points on 9-of-19 shooting, as well as 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. On January 21, 2013, he scored a then career-high 35 points against the Houston Rockets. During the 2012–13 season, Walker was selected with teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to the 2013 Rising Stars Challenge in which they both scored 8 points.

Kemba finished the 2012–13 season with averages of 17.7 points, 5.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 2 steals per contest. He took significant strides over his rookie year.

2013–14 season

On December 9, 2013, Walker scored 31 points, with 27 in the second half, and scored the final 15 points to help the Bobcats defeat the Golden State Warriors 115–111. On December 18, 2013, he hit a buzzer-beating jump shot over Jonas Valančiūnas in overtime to beat the Toronto Raptors. He finished the night with 26 points and 5 rebounds on 10/18 shooting from the field. On February 19, 2014, Walker recorded 24 points, 5 rebounds and a career-high 16 assists in a 116–98 win over the Detroit Pistons. Five days later, he was awarded the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, having averaged 22.5 points, 8.8 assists, and 5.5 rebounds in the span of seven days. In a home victory over the Orlando Magic on April 4, 2014, Walker recorded his second career triple-double with 13 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds.

Playing against the defending two-time NBA champion Miami Heat in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs and with teammate Al Jefferson unable to play due to a Plantar fasciitis injury, Walker had an exceptional game four: he finished the game with a playoff franchise-high 29 points, along with 5 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. The effort came in a loss as the Heat completed a four-game sweep of the Bobcats.

2014–15 season

In the newly renamed Charlotte Hornets' opening game against the Milwaukee Bucks on October 29, Walker led an impressive comeback in an overtime 108–106 victory. The Hornets had been 24 points down by the fourth quarter when they staged a comeback; Walker scored a three-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to force overtime and later hit the shot that clinched the game as well. He finished with 26 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds. The following day, he signed a four-year, $48 million contract extension with the Hornets. On December 5, 2014, Walker hit his second game-winner of the season in a 103–102 win over the New York Knicks. On December 27, in a 94–102 loss to the Orlando Magic, he scored a then career-high 42 points and set a Charlotte Hornets franchise record for most points scored in a half with his 35 points that he posted in the second. On January 3, against the Orlando Magic, Walker scored 30 points to pass Kendall Gill for 10th place on the Charlotte Hornets all-time scoring list with 4,160 points. In three back-to-back games played between the January 3 and 7, Walker scored 30, 33, and 31 points in victories over the Orlando Magic, the Boston Celtics, and the New Orleans Pelicans respectively; he thereby joined Larry Johnson, Glen Rice, and Kelly Tripucka as one of four players in Charlotte Hornets' franchise history to have three or more consecutive games of scoring 30-plus points. Walker also hit his fifth game-winner of his career and his third of the season on January 7 in the 98–94 victory over the Pelicans. On January 12, he was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, January 5, through Sunday, January 11. Over the week, he led the Hornets to a 4–0 record and averaged 30.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in 36.2 minutes, while shooting .500 from the field (44–88), .364 from beyond the three-point line (8–22) and .893 from the free-throw line (25–28).

On January 28, 2015, Walker was ruled out for six weeks after he underwent successful surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. He returned to action on March 11, after missing 18 games, to score six points in 16 minutes off the bench as the Hornets lost to the Sacramento Kings 106–113.

2015–16 season

On November 23, 2015, Walker scored a then season-high 39 points in a 127–122 overtime win over the Sacramento Kings. On January 18, 2016, Walker set a career-high and a franchise-record with 52 points in a 124–119 double overtime win over the Utah Jazz. He made 16-of-34 from the field, including 6-of-11 three-pointers, and was 14-of-15 from the free throw line, breaking the team mark of 48 points set by Glen Rice in March 1997. On March 9, in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans, Walker became just the third Hornets player to make 500 career three-pointers, joining Dell Curry (929) and Glen Rice (508). Five days later, he earned his fourth career Player of the Week award, and second of the 2015–16 season (first coming on January 25), becoming just the sixth Charlotte player to win the award multiple times in the same season. The Hornets finished the regular season as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 48–34 record. In the first round of the playoffs, the Hornets faced the third-seeded Miami Heat, and in a Game 4 win on April 25, Walker scored a playoff career-high 34 points, helping the Hornets tie the series at 2–2. He topped that mark in Game 6 of the series, scoring 37 points in a 97–90 loss, as the Heat tied the series at 3–3. The Hornets went on to lose Game 7, bowing out of the playoffs with a 4–3 defeat.

2016–17 season

On November 4, 2016, Walker scored a season-high 30 points in a 99–95 win over the Brooklyn Nets, helping Charlotte improve to 4–1 for the first time since 2000. He topped that mark on November 11, recording 40 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 113–111 loss to the Toronto Raptors. On December 29, with 22 points against the Miami Heat, Walker recorded his 7,000th point with the Charlotte franchise when he hit a three-pointer with 4:16 left in the first quarter. He became the fourth player in franchise history to reach that mark, and became the second-quickest by doing so in his 396th game—Larry Johnson passed the mark in his 355th career game with the Hornets. Walker's 37-point effort against the Cleveland Cavaliers on December 31 marked his 31st game of 30 points or more. The only Hornets player with more such games in team history is Glen Rice with 54. On January 2, 2017, he recorded 34 points and a season-high 11 rebounds in a 118–111 loss to the Chicago Bulls. He notched consecutive 30-point games for the first time since March 2016. On January 26, he was named an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. Two days later, in a loss to the Sacramento Kings, Walker moved into third place in franchise history in field goals made (2,586), passing Gerald Wallace. On January 31, he scored 22 points against the Portland Trail Blazers and moved into third place on the team's career scoring list. On March 6, he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, February 27 through Sunday, March 5. On March 31, 2017, he scored a game-high 31 points in a 122–114 win over the Denver Nuggets. During the game, Walker became the second player in team history to reach 8,000 career points—the only other player to reach that mark is Dell Curry (9,839).

2017–18 season

On November 1, 2017, Walker scored 26 points in a 126–121 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. It was his 193rd 20-point game, passing Larry Johnson for the franchise record. On November 17, he scored 47 points in a 123–120 loss to the Chicago Bulls. On December 4, he scored 29 points and made all 14 free throw attempts (tying a career-high) in a 104–94 win over the Orlando Magic, becoming the first player in franchise history with 200 career 20-point games. On January 10, 2018, he had 41 points on 16-of-28 shooting in a 115–111 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. On January 15, he scored 20 points in a 118–107 win over the Detroit Pistons, thus reaching 9,000 career points. On January 24, in a 101–96 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, Walker became only the second Hornets' player with 900 career 3-pointers, joining Dell Curry (929). On January 31, he set franchise and career-highs with nine 3-pointers and scored 38 points in a 123–110 win over the Atlanta Hawks. On February 2, he scored 41 points on 11-for-22 shooting in a 133–126 win over the Indiana Pacers. On February 4, in a 115–110 win over the Phoenix Suns, Walker scored 18 points and broke the franchise career record for 3-pointers with 930, surpassing the record of 929 held by Dell Curry. On February 8, Walker was named as the replacement for the injured Kristaps Porziņģis in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, marking his second consecutive All-Star selection. Later that day, he had a 40-point effort in a 109–103 overtime loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. On March 22, he scored 46 points with 10 3-pointers in a 140–79 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. It was his ninth 40-point game of his career and third-highest scoring game of his career, as he helped the Hornets record the sixth-largest win in NBA history. On March 28, he scored 21 points in a 118–105 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, surpassing Dell Curry (9,839 points) to become the franchise's career scoring leader. Walker also established a new team record with his 44th consecutive made free throw. That free throw also brought his career total to 1,999, which broke Gerald Wallace's franchise record of 1,998.

2018–19 season

On October 17, 2018, Walker scored 41 points in a 113–112 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, setting a franchise record for points scored in a season opener. It was his 10th 40-point game of his career, tying Glen Rice for the franchise record for 40-point games. Three days later, he scored 39 points, including the game-winning free throw with a half-second left, to lift the Hornets to a 113–112 win over the Miami Heat. During the game, he eclipsed the career 10,000-point mark. Walker set the NBA record for most three-point field goals through the first three games of a season with 19 (previously held by Danilo Gallinari with 18 in 2009–10) and became the first player in NBA history to make five or more three-point field goals in each of the first three games of a season. He was subsequently named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the first week of the season. On November 17, he scored a career-high and franchise-best 60 points in a 122–119 overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Two days later, he scored 43 points in a 117–112 win over the Boston Celtics. On December 5 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Walker made his 502nd career start for Charlotte, the most of any player in team history, passing Muggsy Bogues (501). On December 29, he scored 47 points in a 130–126 loss to the Washington Wizards. On January 24, he was named a starter for the Eastern Conference in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, joining Glen Rice as the only players to represent Charlotte in three All-Star Games and becomes the third Hornets player to start an All-Star Game, along with Larry Johnson (1993) and Eddie Jones (2000). On February 6, he had 30 points and a season-high 11 rebounds in a 99–93 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. On February 9, he hit a season-high nine 3-pointers and scored 37 points in a 129–120 win over the Atlanta Hawks. On March 11, he had 40 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a 118–106 loss to the Houston Rockets. On March 26, he recorded 38 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in a 125–116 overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs. On April 1, he scored 38 of his 47 points in the second half of the Hornets' 111–102 loss to the Utah Jazz. With 32 points, seven assists and three rebounds against the New Orleans Pelicans on April 3, Walker recorded his 26th 30-point game of the season, passing Glen Rice for the franchise record for 30-point games in a season. He also set the franchise record for 3-pointers made in a season when he made his 244th 3-pointer against New Orleans. On April 5, he scored 29 points in a 113–111 win over the Toronto Raptors, thus joining Glen Rice as the only players in franchise history to score 2,000 points in a season—Rice scored 2,115 points in the 1996–97 season. With his 250th made 3-pointer on April 7 against the Detroit Pistons, Walker became only the ninth different player in NBA history to connect on 250+ 3-pointers in a season. He was subsequently named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played April 1–7, marking his seventh career player of the week award. On April 10, in the Hornets' season finale, Walker scored 43 points in a 122–114 loss to the Orlando Magic. Following the season, he was named to the All-NBA Third Team, his first all-league selection.

Boston Celtics (2019–2021)

Coming off a frustrating 2018–19 season, the Boston Celtics would go on to lose franchise centerpieces Kyrie Irving and Al Horford to free agency, opening the door to start a new chapter with a new max-salary player. After Walker and the Celtics showed mutual interest at the start of free agency, he officially joined the franchise on July 6, 2019, through a sign and trade deal with Charlotte worth $141 million over four years. Walker chose to wear number 8 with the Celtics as his usual number 15 had been retired by the Celtics in honor of Tom Heinsohn.

Walker made his Celtics debut on October 23, 2019, against the Philadelphia 76ers; he put up 12 points on 18 shot attempts from the field in 34 minutes of play during the 107–93 loss. On November 27, Walker scored a then season-high 39 points in a 121–110 win over the Brooklyn Nets. That season-high would be eclipsed on December 11, when Walker scored 44 points in 122–117 loss to the Indiana Pacers. On January 16, 2020, Walker would post a 40 point, 11 assist double-double in a 128–123 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

On January 20, Walker recorded his first head-to-head win against LeBron James, after having begun his career 0–28 against him. Posting 20 points, seven assists, four rebounds, and a steal, he helped the Celtics come away with a 139–107 blowout victory over longtime rivals the Lakers. Three days later, Walker was named to his fourth consecutive All-Star nod, being selected as an Eastern Conference starter.

After the 2020 NBA Finals, the Celtics confirmed that Kemba received a stem cell injection in his left knee and was placed on 12 week strengthening program, sidelining him for the start of the 2020–21 NBA season.

New York Knicks (2021–present)

On June 18, 2021, Walker was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, along with a 2021 first round draft pick (16th selection), and a 2025 second round draft pick from the Boston Celtics in exchange for big men Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a 2023 second round draft pick. On August 4, 2021, Walker was bought out by the Thunder and signed with the New York Knicks.

NBA statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2011–12 Charlotte 66 25 27.2 .366 .305 .789 3.5 4.4 .9 .3 12.1
Career 66 25 27.2 .366 .305 .789 3.5 4.4 .9 .3 12.1

Personal

Walker grew up in the Sack-Wern Houses in Soundview, Bronx, and is the youngest of three siblings.[9][10] His mother is a Crucian, raised in Antigua of Antiguan Parentage, and his father is Antiguan. Walker is also a dancer. He performed three times at the Apollo Theater for the TV show Showtime at the Apollo.[11]

On June 21, 2011, Kemba Walker released a mixtape in collaboration with DJ Skee and Skee Sports. The mixtape features songs inspired by and inspiring to Kemba.[12]


Notes

  1. Lawlor, Christopher (January 11, 2007). "Chicago standout Rose takes stage in New York". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/preps/basketball/2007-01-11-rose-new-york_x.htm?POE=SPOISVA. Retrieved January 30, 2011. 
  2. "Kemba Walker Rice Basketball Stats 07-08". MaxPreps. http://www.maxpreps.com/athletes/EqSVKSBT_EGXkzbOjv4oFA/basketball-winter-07-08/stats-kemba-walker.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  3. Espn.com uconn huskies' team stats
  4. "Connecticut Huskies vs. Louisville Cardinals - Recap". ESPN. 2011-03-12. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=310710097. Retrieved 2011-03-22. 
  5. "Walker named All-American". The Day. 2011-03-14. http://www.theday.com/article/20110314/INTERACT010103/110319839. Retrieved 2011-03-22. 
  6. Report: Kemba Walker wins Bob Cousy Award, accessed March 31, 2011
  7. UConn defeats Butler 53-41 for 3rd national title, Fox Sports, Associated Press
  8. UConn Men Celebrate With Thousands of Fans; Kemba Walker's Jersey Retired. Journal Register News Service, April 5, 2011
  9. Begley, Ian (June 19, 2007). "Walk this way: Kemba can relax, now that he's settled on Connecticut". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/hschool/2007/06/19/2007-06-19_walk_this_way.html. 
  10. Lupica, Mike (March 11, 2011). "Kemba Walker and Dwight Hardy both make Bronx love at Garden, but Walker steals the spotlight". New York Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/college/2011/03/11/2011-03-11_kemba_walker_and_dwight_hardy_both_make_bronx_proud_at_garden_but_walker_steals_.html. 
  11. Rubin, Roger (November 25, 2009). "UConn's Kemba Walker retraces steps to Manhattan's Rice High School". New York Daily News. http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-11-25/sports/17938869_1_apollo-theater-big-dance-troupe. 
  12. Dime Magazine. June 21, 2011. http://dimemag.com/2011/06/kemba-walker-drops-the-ez-pass-mixtape-with-dj-skee/. 

External links

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Charlotte Hornets current roster
0 Bridges • 1 Monk • 3 Rozier • 4 Graham • 5 Batum • 6 McDaniels • 7 Bacon • 8 Biyombo • 9 Hernangómez • 10 Martin • 11 Martin • 23 Simmons (TW) • 25 Washington • 26 Spalding (TW) • 31 Chealey • 40 Zeller
Head coach: James Borrego

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Persondata
NAME Walker, Kemba
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTION American basketball player
DATE OF BIRTH May 8, 1990
PLACE OF BIRTH The Bronx, New York City, New York
DATE OF DEATH
PLACE OF DEATH


Boston Celtics 2019–20 season roster
4 Edwards • 7 Brown • 9 Wanamaker • 12 G. Williams • 27 Theis • 36 Smart • 37 Ojeleye • 43 Green • 44 R. Williams • 45 Langford • 50 Hayward • 51 Waters • 77 Poirier • 88 Walker • 89 Mendeleevskiy • 91 Kanter • 99 Fall • 0 Tatum
Players who left during the season
N/A
Head coach: Brad Stevens
Regular SeasonPlayoffsFinals
Boston Celtics current roster
0 Tatum • 4 Edwards • 7 Brown • 8 Walker • 9 Wanamaker • 11 Kanter • 12 Williams • 20 Hayward • 27 Theis • 36 Smart • 37 Ojeleye • 43 Green • 44 Williams • 45 Langford • 51 Waters (TW) • 77 Poirier • 99 Fall (TW)
Head coach: Brad Stevens
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