ShareBullets: A Q&A with Kemba Walker and some links…
Before Monday’s Wizards-Bobcats game, I headed to the Charlotte locker room while it was open to the media. Tumbleweeds. The Cats’ beat reporter from the Charlotte Observer wasn’t even sent to cover the game. Go figure. In any case, upon my entry into the threshold, some eyes turned toward me, and then quickly looked away. I could’ve sworn that Kemba Walker immediately looked at me, deadpanned, and said, “No.” Can’t blame the Bobcats players. Not. At. All. But, Kemba did end up speaking with me — perfectly willing and perfectly nice about it, he was. So here that goes…
KYLE WEIDIE: Going from winning a championship at UConn to being on the worst team in the NBA, who is giving the best advice on how to deal with the drastic environment change and what are they saying?
KEMBA WALKER: “Nobody really, just the people that’s around me on an everyday basis, like my coaching staff, Rod Higgins, just everyone who’s just been around … my teammates, just doing a great job of keeping me positive and making sure that, regardless of the losses, that I’m still getting better.”
Do you tell yourself anything… anything extra to get motivated to play?
“I always want to play, regardless of the losing. We always come to play every night, it might not show sometimes, but we really work hard regardless. But as far as myself, I just want to get better. I plan on being here for a long time, so I want to improve my game as much as possible.”
How often do you and John Wall talk?
“All the time… we talk a lot. With the schedule, it’s kind of hard to keep in touch. But whenever he’s in town, he comes over to my apartment. Whenever I’m around, I go visit him. But yea, we talk a lot.”
What do you guys say to each other about the tough NBA situations you’re dealing with?
“He is the one who’s been talking to me more — this is his second year. He went through it last year also with not having such a great season as far as wins, but you just got to stay positive, man. It’s tough, but at the same time we’re both on two teams that’s rebuilding, and you know, really building around us, so we just want to say positive and get better. You know the future is bright for us.”
After a lot of games this year, guys like LeBron, D-Wade and Kobe have spoken with Wall on the court to offer him words of encouragement on dealing with the losing, etc. Have opposing NBA players come up to you after games and kind of done the same thing?
“Naw, not really.”
Why do you think that?
“I don’t know… I don’t know.”
Is Michael Jordan still visibly present around the team?
“Yea, he’s around… still trying to encourage us to stay positive. He knows that we’ll be fine in the future.”
Does he still get out there on the court during practice sometimes?
“Naw, I think those days are over.”
Have you wanted to see him on the court?
“No, not really. I watched him on TV enough when I was young.”
By all means, the Wizards should totally bring back Andray Blatche… He’s the best.
[DC Sports Bog]
My take on the extension of Ernie Grunfeld is still “in a process” but Kelly Dwyer has a great overall assessment that you should definitely read.
[Ball Don't Lie]
Michael Jordan defends his longtime practice of surrounding himself with cronies against accusations from former Bobcats coach Larry Brown. Of course.
“Woj” drops the bomb on Billy Hunter and the NBAPA. (Hint: Unions are dirty.)
NBA Nonsense Notebook… so much fun from Michael Katz.
REMINDER: How a 2005 trade involving Sam Cassell affects the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery.
In a recent Sports Illustrated poll, Flip Saunders got 6-percent of the vote for coaches that NBA players would least like to play for — he trailed Stan Van Gundy (22%) and Scott Skiles (14%).
Love this photo by Mike Hicks.
[Washington City Paper]