Since being selected by the Charlotte Hornets as the No. 9 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Kemba Walker has managed to turn himself into an All-Star caliber point guard in the league. Though his greatest achievement in Charlotte was playing in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, Walker’s stint with the Hornets was somewhat interesting since he was guided by one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan, who currently owns the majority of the team.
In a recent video posted on the Boston Celtics’ official Twitter account, Walker discussed several topics, including the feeling of playing for Jordan’s team. Walker revealed that Jordan, who he claimed was “very influential” in his NBA career, gave him truly solid advice during his time with the Hornets.
“The advice he always gave me just how to bring it every night, man,” Walker said Sunday, as transcribed by NESN. “He always taught me, ‘Don’t get comfortable.’ Like, that’s his thing. ‘Don’t get comfortable. Don’t get comfortable.’ And I always heard it, too. Like, I ain’t getting comfortable, man! Like, I’m keeping this job forever! … That was just my mentality, like, I’m not getting comfortable. You know, I know who my boss is. You know? I’m not about to let (Jordan) down. So yeah. Man, he’s been very very influential in my basketball career.”
Walker admitted that Jordan’s advice inspired him to continuously improve his performance on both ends of the floor and have confidence whenever he goes on the court. In his final season with the Hornets, Walker posted incredible numbers, averaging 25.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.2 steals while shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, despite his explosive performance almost every night and all the things that he learned from the G.O.A.T., Walker was still unable to lead the Hornets to title contention.
Last summer, Walker and the Hornets decided to go in different directions. After failing to reach an agreement during their contract negotiation, Walker chose to leave the Hornets in the 2019 NBA free agency to sign a four-year, $140.7 million deal with the Celtics. Though his first season with the Celtics is currently in limbo due to the coronavirus pandemic, most people would agree that Walker is now in a much better situation.
Compared to the Hornets, who are in the first phase of the rebuilding process, Walker and the Celtics have a realistic chance of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and contending for the NBA championship title. Though he’s not better than Kyrie Irving, Walker proved that he’s the type of player the Celtics need to unleash the full potential of rising superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.