Kemba Walker | 2016-17 Blog

Ready for Media Day and Training Camp

Point guard Kemba Walker will continue to check in with hornets.com periodically for his running 2016-17 blog. Keep checking back to see what Kemba has to say throughout the offseason heading into 2016-17:

Sunday, Sept. 25, 8:17 p.m.

Training Camp is just around the corner and I’m feeling good. I’m rehabbing my knee every day and getting stronger every day, so I’m ready to go. I’m excited to get things started. Media Day and Training Camp kind of mark the start of the season. It should be pretty fun. We’ve got a few new faces around here, so we’re just looking to get those guys acclimated to us and get all of us acclimated to them. Everybody’s put in their work this offseason and almost everybody has been here getting to work. That’s cool because guys could have been off doing whatever they wanted, but for those guys all to be here getting ready for the season shows how much they want to win and how much they sacrifice their time for the team. It’s not only about getting better - it’s also about team chemistry. We need to bond and get to know one another so we can play well together.

So far it’s been good though. The guys we got back, Ramon (Sessions) and B-Rob (Brian Roberts) have already played for Cliff (Head Coach Steve Clifford). I’ve played with both of them too, so that makes it a lot easier because we know what to expect from each other. Roy (Hibbert) is a quick learner and has been around so it won’t take him long to get used to what we do around here.

Our ultimate goal, as it should always be, is to get to the playoffs. Right now we’re focused on getting our individual games in order so we can play well together as a team. We’re working on our defensive techniques and working on a lot of small things so we can play well all the way through the end of the season and into the playoffs. 

Now its time to get through Media Day, because things start to change once Training Camp opens. Things are about to get even more intense. Everybody has to be a lot more locked in and there is going to be even more teaching from Cliff. Things will be a lot more organized. I know we’re all looking forward to it.

I’m always ready to embrace my leadership role here, and the great thing about it is the guys allow me to leave. That’s one of the best part, when you have guys - even the older guys - who allow me to be who I am. That makes things a lot easier. Now it’s time to get things started. I’m looking forward to a special season.

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Friday, Aug. 12, 12:45 p.m.

Hello Hornets fans! It’s been a while since we last talked but I wanted everyone out there to know that I’m feeling great! It’s been a regular summer for me so far. I have been doing a little bit of traveling back home to New York, back and forth from New York and Charlotte. I’ve just been working out, trying to get my left knee stronger after having surgery back in May and just get myself ready for the season. That is about it, nothing too glamorous.

We had a special year last year and played some great basketball. I was able to play through my knee issue during the year and throughout the playoffs. I just wanted to have a good year and I wanted to get back to the playoffs. I wanted to be there for my teammates. I wanted to be there for this organization. I wanted to make some noise in the league. We were still able to do that. I knew that my knee was going to be something I was going to have to work on after the season and that’s what I did. I am just happy to have everything play out the right way. I was able to finish the season off and now I’m feeling good. I’m still recovering and just can’t wait for the season.

There were a lot of us that were dealing with nagging injuries at season’s end, but we’re all better now and going to come back stronger. That’s the plan and It feels good. In this league, that’s what it is all about. A lot of guys throughout the league play hurt throughout the year with nagging injuries. No one is healthy, especially towards the end of the year. It’s all about sacrifice, it’s all about wanting to be there for your teammates. We were all pretty banged up but I am glad we got a chance to experience that, experience the playoffs, [experience] a Game 7 even though it was a pretty bad Game 7 for us. It was a great experience for us. Hopefully we can take care of our bodies during the year, and we all stay healthy during the year and experience that again.

Now that I’ve had time to reflect on it, last season was a confidence booster for me. I think it allowed me and my teammates to gain a lot of confidence coming into this season. We know what it takes to win, to get to that next level. For me personally, it has helped me become a better leader and I am looking forward to becoming an even better leader for my teammates in the upcoming season.

We had a pretty good offseason too, and it all started by re-signing Nic (Batum). Both MKG (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) and I decided we had to be a part of the meeting with Nic because we had to let him know that not only does the organization want him to be here, but we as players want him here. Playing with Nic last year took this team to another level. It took my game to another level, as well as other players on this team. We had to let him know that we appreciate him and how much we really wanted him back here. He just makes everyone better on our team. He’s a special player and a great teammate off the court. So we just really wanted him to know that we wanted him. MKG and I took the day and made the trip to Dallas… it was a really special trip. The guys upstairs [the Hornets front-office] did a great job with their presentation, it was awesome actually, it was pretty special. They put together an amazing video for him and it was pretty incredible. They did a great job with that. They went back to his hometown in France and they went to Portland. It was actually pretty touching. I’m surprised he didn’t shed a tear. It was a really cool experience and I enjoyed it. For MKG and I to be there and go through that experience, it was cool. We thought it would surprise him when he walked into the room and saw us but we actually saw him in the hotel before the meeting and he was really surprised. I don’t think he had any clue that we were going to be there. It was pretty cool. We just felt as leaders we had to be there. We had to be there to show our face and let him know that we want him back. 

We also brought back Marvin (Williams) and that was super important – super important. I would have been devastated if we lost Marvin. I was excited we got him back. He is such a good teammate – one of the best teammates I have ever been around. One of the hardest workers I have ever been around as well. He is just such a good, genuine dude. I am just happy we got him back.

It was pretty tough losing Al (Jefferson) though. Al was my guy from day one. He just came in and helped turn this organization around. He was a really special teammate and that guy in the locker room you are definitely going to miss – a guy who just knows what it takes. That is just the way of this league. Guys are going to go every year, and you are going to have different teammates every year. Especially depending on contract situations and the money situation. It’s a business and I am just happy he was able to go on to another great situation in Indiana. They have a great team, it’s not like he is going to a team who won’t be really good. I’m happy for him and I hope he stays healthy and has a great year. 

But even though Al moved on, we got some new teammates, too. Playing with Roy Hibbert will be cool. Roy is huge, he’s a huge presence in the paint. I think he will be really good, especially with us. We have the reputation of really working hard and getting guys back to their old selves. Hopefully we can get him back to his old self, like the days he had in Indiana when he was a two-time All-Star. That will be great. We have the perfect guys for him in Cliff [Coach Steve Clifford] and Patrick Ewing. We have guys for him who will help him. I think he is going to flourish with us.

We also brought back two familiar faces to Charlotte fans. We have Ramon [Sessions] and we got B-Rob [Brian Roberts] back. It’s exciting. They are two guys I have always enjoyed playing alongside. Ramon is very fun to play with, he gets to the free throw line a lot, just like Jeremy [Lin] in that aspect. It’s going to be fun. Having B-Rob back, that’s going to be fun as well. His wife, she makes all the cupcakes, that’s another reason why I am super happy. Over the years I have learned so much from Brian, he probably doesn’t know, and I probably won’t tell him that much. I have learned so much from him over the last couple years that I have been playing with him and he is a really special teammate that I really enjoy playing with. 

One of the things I’m most excited about this season will be the return of MKG. I can’t wait. Especially the glimpse we got of him last season and me being around him this summer, seeing how hard he has been working to get back. It’s going to be a special year for him and I think the league better watch out for him because he is going to have a huge year.

I’m excited to get this season started. I can’t wait. I’m going into year six confident as ever. I am excited to get the ball rolling. I am pretty sure we are going to come into the season as underdogs once again. So we will be ready to prove people wrong again, come in with a huge chip on our shoulder.

For me, this offseason was about rehabbing my knee and  just polishing things up. I’m trying to keep shooting the ball the way I shot it last year, but even better of course. Just really tuning things up. I am keeping my routine the same. I am not trying to do anything different from last summer, just a lot of shooting. I’m just trying to play the same way but at a higher level.

I also had the chance to write for The Players Tribune this offseason. I just felt like some more voices needed to be heard on the subject. I had seen Carmelo Anthony’s post on Instagram and it kind of woke me up. Then seeing him and LeBron [James] and Chris Paul and D-Wade [Dwayne Wade] at the ESPY’s and the women in the WNBA speak out, I just felt like me being on this platform and having a pretty good amount of fans that would actually read the article, I just felt like I had to say something. I don’t know how much it’s going to help, but I would like to help. I would like to do whatever is possible to make this world better. That’s what it is all about. I am just tired of seeing bad things go on in this world. I have lost a friend, a close friend of mine to gun violence and I do not want to lose anymore. I don’t want to see other people lose their lives. These families are losing people to dumb stuff, some senseless act of violence. I’m just tired of seeing it. I think a lot of people are tired of seeing it. I just felt like I should have said something, and that’s what I did. I think it turned out pretty good and I think a lot of people really liked the article. I am glad they did and hopefully we can find a solution to this. We have just got to make the world a better place. For me it was also just another step in my maturation off the court. No question, I have always carried myself a certain way. I am just getting older, more experienced and like to think my voice can make a difference.

As for my goals this season, I just want to win. That is what I am all about. I am all about winning. Like I always said day one when I got to this organization, when you win everyone reaps the benefits. That is what it is all about. The more we win, that is when an All-Star Game will come for me or someone on our team, things like that. The accolades come the more you win.

I can’t even put into words how hungry I am for a playoff series win. I really can’t put it into words. Especially after last season going into that Game 7, and it was really cool. No one expected us to get to a Game 7. Now, the next step is to actually win one. I am super hungry and can’t wait to get started!