Kemba Walker makes first career All-Star Game

Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) drives against New York Knicks center Joakim Noah (13) and guard Derrick Rose during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Former UConn legend Kemba Walker has finally gained national attention for his star power on the court after being named to his first All-Star Game as a reserve.

Walker is in the midst of the best year of his young career, averaging a career-high 23.3 points per game and shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc while adding 5.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

The Bronx-native is the lone All-Star from the Hornets, a team that is currently in playoff contention, further proving how vital he is to his team’s success. When Walker is on the court, the team is 5.6 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents. When he is off the court, however, the team is 5.4 points worse.

Walker is the first Hornet to be named to the All-Star Game since Gerald Wallace made it in 2010, when they were still called the Bobcats. He also surpassed Wallace in field goals made (2,586), moving into third all time in franchise history.

The last Husky to make the All-Star game was Andre Drummond in 2016. Walker joins Richard Hamilton, Caron Butler and Cliff Robinson as the other Huskies to reach the All-Star game at least once in their careers.

The All-Star point guard’s most impressive game came in the loss against the Raptors when he scored 40 points, snatched 10 rebounds and dished out six assists. Walker reached a milestone of 7,000 career points, which only three other Hornets have touched.

In an article by the Charlotte Observer, Walker explained that he used his critics and shortcomings to fuel his motivation to become an even better player this season.

“I know there were a lot of doubts about me. I give my all each and every day,” Walker said in the article. “We’ve come a long way (since 7-59 season). We had some really down years. To represent the Hornets in the All-Star game will be really cool.”

According to the New York Post, Former Hornet teammate Courtney Lee had some high praise for Kemba Walker after he was named an All-Star.

“I’m happy he became an All-Star because he puts a lot of work in,” Lee said to the Post. “You know how everybody says, ‘I’ll put the work in?’ Behind the closed doors when nobody’s watching, he really does. I watched him do it. I’m really happy for him. He’s a good person, too. Real good person.”

Not only is Lee proud of him, but many Hornets and Huskies fans are as well. His journey was not always smooth sailing, but his rigorous work ethic was always apparent and has propelled him to this point in his career.


Michael Logan is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at michael.logan@uconn.edu.