New York fans were good with Kemba Walker playing in Charlotte, but now that the dynamic guard is wearing Celtics green, Knicks fans are sick to their stomachs. The fact that he’s now in the same Atlantic Division and will see the Knicks four times or more per season is even worse.
— ESPN (@espn) July 17, 2019
The saddest piece of this scenario is that Walker has been rumored in trade talks for the past two seasons and the Knicks had no assets to offer.
Now that he’s on the hated Celtics, that just means that the Bronx-born product can go into MSG and obliterate the Knicks in the same house that birthed his legend. The man owns a permanent set of keys to the place for before he ever stepped foot in the NBA.
Kemba’s a permanent part of MSG lore. He’s one of the gatekeepers of the Big East and Madison Square Garden’s incredible college hoops history.
We all know Walker’s story. Despite a junior season for the ages at UConn, scouts and NBA execs weren’t that high on the Rice high school legend and questioned his physical frame, shooting abilities and worthiness as a first-round draft selection.
After permanently entrenching himself as a hometown legend by dismantling Big East Tournament teams at MSG, Walker scored 130 points in five NCAA Tourney games and then led UConn to a mythical national championship.
He rode his hoops high all the way to becoming a three-time NBA All-Star after he was selected by the Charlotte Hornets, with the No. 9 overall pick of the 2011 Draft.
Walker did his part, but Michael Jordan never provided him with the supporting cast needed to be real contenders. There were a number of free-agent destinations for Walker, but he chose the Celtics and a max-contract of 4 years and $141 million.
In a recent interview, Kemba said he wanted to “give himself the best opportunity to make a run in the playoffs ”
Now, Walker will join the list of New York-born legends that terrorize their home team — especially at MSG. When Walker plays at MSG, he will probably have more New York fans rooting for him than the Knicks.
I can only imagine what kind of ridiculous game Kemba is going to put on the Knicks when he comes home. His Celtics team is stacked with talent and the Knicks are in a familiar position as a rebuilding NBA doormat.
Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn and he killed the Knicks in the Garden.
Mark Jackson used to give the Knicks fits when he played point guard for Indiana alongside Reggie Miller.
Now Kemba is going to light it up at the Knicks expense so that the fans can think about another New York gem who got away.
The year Kemba was drafted, the Knicks had the No. 17 pick and had to settle for Iman Shumpert. They also passed on Ron Artest in the 1999 Draft and were drafting way too late to pick multi-talented LaMar Odom from Queens, who went No. 4 overall.
Knicks-Celtics games are going to be another harsh reminder of the state of the Knicks, which as Charles Oakley correctly pointed out, is still bleak following an offseason with meteoric expectations.
“Do they have an ‘A’ player on their team? I don’t think so,” Oakley said. “They got maybe one ‘B’ and a lot of ‘Cs.’
They definitely don’t have a player like Kemba. When he comes to The Garden it’s probably going to look something like this.
The team’s failure to secure any top-notch free agents was another kick in the guts to faithful members of the Orange and Blue, who have endured two decades of miserable insanity.
Watching a player who is perfect for New York torch the Knicks and play on a winning team in the same division is indicative how unfavorably the ball is still bouncing for the franchise.