Back in 2010, Charlotte’s NBA franchise was known at the time as the Charlotte Bobcats, and one of their star players at the time was Gerald Wallace, who’s strong play earned him the distinction of being the franchise’s first all-star during the 2009-10 campaign. Now let’s fast forward seven years later to 2017, the franchise is now known as the Charlotte Hornets, and they too have a star player that’s been making a name for himself, and it’s none other than Kemba Walker. His leadership and solid play has earned him the right to become an NBA All-Star, as he becomes the first Charlotte player to earn the honor since 2010, and he will represent the Hornets as an Eastern Conference reserve at this year’s All-Star game in New Orleans, Louisiana. For those of us that were hoping to see a Charlotte player play on one of the NBA’s biggest stages, it was truly worth the wait for not only Kemba, but for us as Hornets fans that follow this team day in and day out, because we knew that Kemba is a special player, and his work ethic on the court is good enough to compare him to some of the other Hornet players in franchise history that came before him as a solid leader, including Muggsy Bogues, Larry Johnson, Baron Davis, and David Wesley. Walker has been earning a lot of respect from not only his teammates, but from those that often watch him and have a lot to say about the sixth-year star from UCONN, who has turned the Charlotte Hornets into one of the up and coming teams in the Eastern Conference and the entire NBA as a whole.
He was surrounded by his fellow teammates at the team hotel in New York City, where the Hornets will take on the Knicks tomorrow night, and he was thrilled and honored to have his teammates support him and to celebrate his All-Star selection. “It was special. to be around the guys each and everyday” Walker said. “To all the guys whose helped me to achieve this accomplishment, it’s a very special time for me.”
Walker isn’t the only Hornets representative heading to “The Big Easy” for this year’s All-Star festivities, he will be joined by Frank Kaminsky, who will be taking part in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge. In his sixth season with the Charlotte franchise, which selected him with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft, Walker has been averaging 23.0 points per game this season with the Hornets, while averaging 8.2 field goals per game, to go along with a .456 field goal percentage and a .411 three-point field goal percentage. He has already tallied 32 games of 20-plus points on the season, which is good enough to tie him for the fifth-most games in the Eastern Conference this season.
He also in elite company with some of the other great names in Charlotte Hornets franchise history(since 1988), he recently became just the third player in franchise history to score more than 1,000 points through the first 45 games of the season, joining Larry Johnson(1992-93) and Glen Rice(1996-97). Walker currently ranks second in Charlotte NBA history in 20-point games(164), three-point field goals made(679), and free-throws made(1,523). He also ranks third in franchise history with 2,191 assists, and fourth in points(7,344), field goals made(2,571), and games played(409).
With his upcoming appearance in this year’s NBA All-Star game, Walker will become the seventh player in Charlotte NBA history to make an appearance in the All-Star game, joining several other Hornets players that appeared in the game.
Charlotte NBA All-Star Game Representatives(Purple represents those that appeared in All-Star Game during the original Hornets era; Teal represents those that appeared in the All-Star game during the modern era of Charlotte NBA basketball, which began in 2004.)
1993: Larry Johnson(Starter)
1994: Alonzo Mourning(Reserve; Did not play in All-Star Game)
1994: Larry Johnson(Reserve)
1995: Larry Johnson(Reserve)
1995: Alonzo Mourning(Reserve)
1996: Glen Rice(Reserve)
1997: Glen Rice(Reserve; Named All-Star Game MVP)
1998: Glen Rice(Reserve)
2000: Eddie Jones(Starter)
2001: Baron Davis(Reserve)
2010: Gerald Wallace(Reserve)
2017: Kemba Walker(Reserve)
The 66th NBA All-Star Game will take place at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday, February 19th and will be televised on TNT.