- Kemba Walker made his first return to Charlotte since signing with the Boston Celtics this summer.
- The fans showered Walker with love, bringing him to tears.
- He deserved every second of it, just as the Hornets front office deserves an equal measure of scorn for ever letting him leave.
Charlotte showered Kemba Walker with love on his return to the city on Thursday night. And why wouldn’t they? He’s one of the only stars in the NBA who would ever choose to stay in Charlotte.
No offense to the Queen City, but it’s one of the least attractive NBA destinations. The weather is so-so, the market is tiny, and it’s almost four hours away from North Carolina’s main selling point: the beach.
Kemba Walker didn’t care. He still, beyond all logic, wanted to stay. Unfortunately, Charlotte’s management didn’t have the sense to keep him.
The Rise (and Exodus) of Charlotte’s King
Charlotte drafted Walker 9th overall in 2011. He quickly rose the ranks and became an elite scorer. Last year, Walker scored 60 points in a game and made the All-NBA third team. His induction meant he was in line for a massive new contract.
Many thought Kemba should leave Charlotte and their befuddled front office. Led by owner Michael Jordan, who’s much better at playing basketball than managing it, they failed to surround him with a competent supporting cast during his eight-year tenure. Jordan continues to make brilliant decisions, like offending the best player ever to come from Charlotte, who could’ve someday returned.
Despite all of this, Kemba remained loyal. He even said he’d take a pay cut to stay in one of the smallest,