Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown

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Kemba Walker continues to receive leadership questions, much like Kyrie Irving did

Nick Friar
August 19, 2019 - 6:16 pm

Talk of leadership has become one of the more annoying points of debate in sports. I don’t know why, but some seem to think great players have to be leaders, too. Furthermore, leaders have to be vocal, they can’t just lead by example.

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It’s a ridiculous, tangled web and, for some reason, tends to be a conversation associated with the NBA more than any of the other major professional leagues.

Maybe part of the problem is guys like Kyrie Irving talk so much about being a leader. That could also be a byproduct of the line of questioning they receive, too. It’s probably a mix of both.

Regardless, when Kemba Walker gets asked about it — because he has to be asked about it, being Irving’s replacement in Boston and all — he somehow manages to avoid discussing the importance of him serving as a leader. Sure, he initially mentioned how he tends to lead by example as opposed to being a vocal leader. But he didn’t stress how he needs to lead, or anything along those lines. Walker just answered a question about his leadership style.

He got the questions on his first day as a Celtic and he’s still getting them with Team USA. Shockingly, when asked about his growth — being a leader of the team and all — he didn’t even label himself as a leader. The closest he came to it was when he mentioned how he’s been around the NBA longer than most of his teammates and is older than most guys on Team USA’s roster, and those are just facts. He didn’t say how their inexperience makes their opinions or ideas any less important or helpful

“I’m just trying my best to get everyone a little bit better each and every day,” Walker said in Melbourne, Australia. “Our camaraderie, our chemistry is building. It’s getting better each day. I am one of the older guys on this team, one of the guys who have been around a little bit longer than a lot of the other guys, so it’s fun. I’m just being myself, trying to bring energy, trying to bring enthusiasm.”

Not once did he use the word “leader” or talk about the importance of leading the team and the younger guys listening to him. Must’ve been a real struggle to get through four sentences without doing that.