Kemba Walker opens up about joining Celtics: 'I want to get this team back on top'

Gabby Guerard
July 01, 2019 - 11:19 am

Amid a busy Sunday night of NBA free agency, Kemba Walker agreed to sign a four-year, $141 million maximum contract with the Celtics.

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Looking at his stats, the three-time All-Star point guard is coming off his best season so far. In Walker's 2018-19 campaign, the 29-year-old averaged 25.6 points, 5.9 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Monday morning, Boston got a glimpse of who Walker is as a person. The newest Celtic wrote an article for The Players’ Tribune titled “Boston, Let’s Do This,” and his honesty and raw emotion comes through immediately.

“I owe Charlotte everything, man. Everything,” the point guard opened. He proceeded to think back to when he was drafted by the Hornets in 2011, and acknowledged how a conversation with Michael Jordan helped him block out those who doubted his abilities, writing, “Those words from MJ changed my life.”

After spending eight seasons in Charlotte, it’s clear that the city, and even the entire state of North Carolina, will always hold a special place in his heart. Walker thanked Elizabeth and Mike Peeler, an older couple whom he became friends with and joined for an annual dinner. He thanked his teammates, both present and former, whom he called his brothers, in addition to the entire organization. 

Walker also made a point to shout-out his four mentees: Jaliyah, Miles, Caleb, and Devyn, whom he described as his heroes, and noted that although he won’t be in Charlotte anymore, he’s their mentor for life and that won’t change. He also joked that even though he won’t embarrass them by bragging too much about their report cards, he’s very proud of what they’ve accomplished.

Then, he addressed the city of Boston. While he described himself as “the quiet type” and “a man of few words,” Walker also explained what kind of leader he'll be.

“I’m a leader in my own way. I’m never going to shout anyone off the court, or get overly negative. It’s not my style,” Walker said. “But what I do is I take pride in making my teammates better – I’m that lead by example type. I like to keep it direct.”

He explained that he’s always looking to improve, and has one goal entering each year: to get better, and go farther. Walker takes his professional responsibilities seriously, but remembers why he’s here in the first place – because he loves the game of basketball.

“So we’re going to grind for those buckets..... we’re going to grind for those stops..... but I’ll tell you what else: we’re going to have some fun out there. And you can bet we’re going to be fun to watch,” he said.

“And then one last thing about me: I’m a winner. I’ve always been a winner. It’s who I am – or at least who I strive to be – anytime I step foot on the court,” Walker added. “And when I think about my future with this team, and how I’m now going to be playing for the Celtics….. I mean, that’s why I feel like it’s a match made in heaven. I want to win here, badly – and I’m excited to prove myself as that type of player in this league. I want to elevate myself into that Boston winning tradition. I want to get this team back on top.”

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