Bronx-born Kemba Walker comes home to the Knicks

Kemba Walker – PG brings veteran leadership to Knicks

Kemba Walker

For Kemba Walker, landing in New York with the Knicks was a dream realized.

So when he stepped onto the court at Madison Square Garden for the Knicks’ preseason opener on Oct. 5 wearing the familiar blue, orange and white of the team he rooted for growing up, the Bronx-born and -raised point guard felt all was right with the world. Now, he just has to produce.

The four-time NBA All-Star certainly possesses the skills. A team-first player, Walker knows how to read the game, hit the open man and sink the crucial shot. And he provides veteran leadership.

But the shelf life of 31-year-old point guards can be perilously short and the 11th year veteran most definitely has a few miles on his odometer. He signed with the Knicks this offseason after being waived by Oklahoma City following a trade from Boston, his team the past two seasons. He suffered through an injury-riddled 2020-21 season that limited him to only 43 games. He also has an arthritic left knee that scared a lot of teams off. Still, his per-game numbers last season — 19.3 points, 4.9 assists, 1.1 steals — were solid.

This season, he’ll alternate with returning vet (and former MVP) Derrick Rose to run the offense for the Knicks, pairing with fellow offseason acquisition Evan Fournier to form a dynamic new-look backcourt. Given New York’s offensive flameout in its five-game loss to Atlanta in last season’s Conference Quarterfinals, the new configuration figures to be a welcome change.

Walker and the Knicks can be seen in action Tuesday, Oct. 26, at home against the Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia 76ers in a game airing on TNT.

Player Profile

Full name: Kemba Hudley Walker

Birth date: May 8, 1990

Birthplace: Bronx, N.Y.

Height/weight: 6 feet/184 pounds

Draft: Selected in the first round (ninth overall) by the Charlotte Hornets in 2011

Teams: Connecticut Huskies (2008-11); Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets (2011-19); Boston Celtics (2019-21); New York Knicks (2021-present)

Position: Point guard

No.: 8

Honors and achievements: NCAA champion (2011); First Team All-American (2011); NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award (2011); Bob Cousy Award (2011); four-time NBA All-Star (2017-20); NBA Sportsmanship Award (2017, 2018)

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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