UConn great, four-time NBA All-Star Kemba Walker retires

Check out some numbers behind Kemba Walker’s career as he announces retirement from basketball. (1:04)

Open Extended Reactions

Kemba Walker, a champion at UConn and a four-time All-Star in the NBA, announced his retirement on social media Tuesday.

“I know I couldn’t have made it to this point without my incredible support system around me,” Walker said in his statement. “There are so many people to thank — my mom, dad and entire family, my teammates who have become family, and the coaches who believed in me and brought out the best in me.”

Walker, 34, was drafted No. 9 overall by the then-Charlotte Bobcats in the 2011 NBA draft after leading UConn to a national championship that spring.

Walker improved steadily in Charlotte before breaking out as an All-Star in 2016-17. He was an All-Star again in each of the next two years, with his best season coming in 2018-19 as he averaged a career-best 25.6 points per game and was named to the All-NBA third team.

Walker remains the Hornets’ all-time franchise leader in points.

Fresh off his third straight All-Star game, Walker agreed to a contract with the Boston Celtics that summer and eventually was moved there in a sign-and-trade deal. Walker made another All-Star game that year with Boston, but injuries started to catch up to the guard.

He won the only two playoff series of his career with Boston in 2020 but the Celtics ultimately fell to the Miami Heat in the conference finals in the Bubble in Orlando.

The following season, Walker only played in 43 of a possible 72 games. In his first eight seasons, Walker missed a total of 35 games. In his two years with Boston, injuries forced him to miss 45 games.

Boston dealt Walker to Oklahoma City in the summer of 2021 and the Thunder eventually bought out Walker’s contract, allowing him to sign with the New York Knicks. In 37 games with the Knicks, Walker averaged 11.6 points and 3.5 assists, but injury concerns persisted and he played his final game with the franchise on Feb. 16, 2022.

Walker was traded to the Detroit Pistons in the offseason and was once again bought out of his deal. He played nine games with Dallas in 2022-23 before the team waived him in January.

Walker spent last season playing sparingly with AS Monaco in the French League before announcing his retirement.

Prior to his NBA career, Walker built up a reputation as a big-game player in leading the Huskies to a national championship. Walker had all-time performances in the 2011 Big East tournament — when the team won five games in five days to secure the conference championship — and the NCAA tournament — when he earned Most Outstanding Player.

Walker was a consensus first-team All-American that season and the Bob Cousy Award winner for the best point guard in the country.

Walker ended his NBA career as the Hornets’ all-time leader in points, 3-pointers, win shares and minutes played and is also top 10 in franchise history in assists (second), steals (third), games played (third) and rebounds (eighth).

Leave a Reply

Verified by MonsterInsights