Kemba Walker Column

Kemba Walker Embraced The Process

Andrea Walker talks about how Kemba cooked for his teammates, how there was no big-timing, how they formed a brotherhood. The way he took on leadership remains a study in seamlessness. Again, respect for the process.

He is close to graduating now. To do it in three years not only meant summer classes but meticulous planning by Felicia Crump. Walker is effusive in praising his academic counselor. He is sticking in school this semester and plans to walk in commencement exercises. After that he said he'll need to finish two or three online classes and plans on an internship with the team that drafts him to get his sociology degree.

"My best advice for incoming athletes is the better you do off the court the better you do on the court," Walker said.

Yet in the April 11 issue of Sports Illustrated with Kemba on the cover, he admits that William C. Rhoden's "Forty Million Slaves: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Black Athlete," is the first book he has ever read cover to cover. While his honesty is admirable, cynics undoubtedly will raise an eyebrow on how this could be at a major university.

"I read a lot of books," Walker said Tuesday. "But not just start to finish. I might have skipped some chapters."

He skipped no chapters on the court. And now he says he will be prepared and comfortable on any NBA team. Andrea said any team is fine with her, except maybe the Knicks.

"I have nothing against the Knicks, but being from New York I think that would be too much responsibility on him," said Andrea, who said she will accompany him until he is settled in the NBA. "Give him a chance to grow a little. Don't just throw him into the lion's den right away."

Andrea said she knew Kemba would be a star in grade school when she saw him dancing at the Apollo Theater. That's mom talking. Years later, he doesn't dance around the process.

"Every other school told me I was going to come in right away and be the man," he said. "Coach Calhoun told me I would have to work for everything. That's what I wanted. I wanted to work.

"This place raised me."

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