Back in Charlotte with Home Games, Glen Rice Night and All-Star on the Horizon
Hornets Captains Kemba Walker and Marvin Williams will continue to check in with hornets.com on Wednesdays this season for their 2018-19 Captains’ Blog presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. Keep checking back to see what they have to say throughout the NBA regular season. If you know someone who is a captain in the local community, visit hornets.com/bluecrossnc to tell us about them! They could be rewarded for their efforts with a VIP Captain for a Day experience presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina!
By Kemba Walker
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 1:12 p.m.
We’re back from our road trip and I think we’re a better team. There were a lot of ups and downs on it, but overall, I think we did come back as a better team. Especially that last win in San Antonio, that was a great win for us and hopefully, we can build off that win.
We wanted to win it for Tony of course, because of all that work he put in with the organization, the championships and what he’s done in this league. He’s a big-time player in our league for years with the Spurs. We knew he wanted to go in there and get a win against his old team. As a team, that win was super important for us, too – just for morale, each other. That was a big-time win for us. Hopefully, we can build off that, get some confidence and push forward for the rest of our season.
It feels good to have two home games this week. That’s how it is in this league. You’ve got to hit that road at some point. We’ve been away a long time, but it’s good to be back home. We were gone for so long. It was good to get back in my own bed. I’m sure everybody feels the same way. It feels good.
The results of the All-Star voting feel good, too. Everybody is starting to recognize the way I’m playing. I’ve been playing this way for a few years now. I’m not getting anxious, though. I’m just taking it day by day, obviously. Just waiting until all the stuff comes out, I guess. Until I hear my name called, then I’ll start to get excited. But until then, I’m just going to wait.
These All-Star appearances mean a lot. There were times when people didn’t even believe I could be in this league. So, to prove them wrong and become an NBA All-Star means a lot. I’ve overcome so much doubt, overcame a lot of critics saying I couldn’t do things and I accomplished a lot. It’s exciting for me, my family and friends for me to accomplish such a huge feat. It’s a special accomplishment.
This week, we’re playing the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns, two teams we just saw on the West Coast. I guess it’s pretty good to play them again this quick, especially Sacramento. They beat us at their place. They’re a really good, young team. Hopefully, we can come out and get that win back. That was a game we wish we could have got. They came out, played well and were able to get a win against us. It’s still fresh in our memories.
With the Suns, it was just one of those night where I struggled early on against Phoenix on the trip, but it’s a long game. Anything can happen. I was able to catch fire at the end of the game. Hopefully this time, I can get going a little bit earlier. We have Sacramento first and we have to worry about them. When Phoenix comes around, we’ll get to that.
That game on Saturday is also Glen Rice Night. I’m really excited to see the Glen Rice bobblehead. It looks super good. Everybody remembers when he won MVP of the All-Star Game in 1997. This is perfect. It brings back a lot of memories. He’s a Hornet great and definitely one of the guys who inspired us in the basketball game today. It’ll be exciting.
Checking in at the Midway Point of Our 6-Game Road Trip
By Marvin Williams
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 11:09 a.m.
We’re halfway through our six-game road trip and although we’re 1-2 so far, stretches like this serve as a definite bonding experience. It’s been awhile since we’ve been on the road this long. I think guys were looking forward to the trip. We had a great time at home during the holidays with our families and friends. We had a chance to play a lot in front of our fans, but to get back on the road, it gives us a chance to be together a little bit more. I know guys were looking forward to it.
We have seven plane rides on this trip, so guys do a lot of stuff to kill time on the plane. From cards, to music, watching games together. A few of us watched the National Championship on Monday night between Clemson and Alabama. I know a lot of the young guys like to go to the malls. It could just be anything. We have a lot of free time after practice if we’re not playing, so four, five, six of us guys try to get together and do something.
We have an off day today in Los Angeles, but I haven’t honestly thought about what to do yet. Hopefully rest! Last night’s game against the Clippers was our third game in four days. I’m sure guys are pretty tired. Hopefully, guys will take it easy with whatever they choose to do.
Actually, my plan is to play darts with Jeremy Lamb. I’m putting the pressure on Jeremy Lamb right now publicly to invite me out for darts on the road! Behind him, I think I’m the second-best darts player on the team because I’m the only other one that plays. I’d at least have to be no. 2. Jeremy and I had a good session at Kemba’s house last week, which really got me hooked. I was right there, I thought I was going to beat him, but I had to leave. If I play that well again and he has an off night, I think I can beat him. He tells me I’ll never beat him. I’m sure somebody told him he’d never win either and he did.
Fortunately for me, my fiancé is very aware of our long road trips, so she tries to look ahead so she and my daughter can come out and see me. It’s definitely a blessing and I am super, super appreciative of her for doing that because I know that is a far trip for her to travel with a toddler. A lot of stuff goes into her traveling alone, so I definitely appreciate when she does come out. It does give our family an opportunity to be together. When she does do things like that for me and daughter, it means a lot to me. They came to Phoenix. We are really close with Suns guard Troy Daniels and his family, who used to play with us in Charlotte. We spent some time with him and his family. I got a couple of nights with them in Phoenix and I may catch them again on the back end of this road trip, if possible.
With the Holidays Over, It’s Time to Get Ready for the West Coast
By Kemba Walker
Wednesday, Jan. 2, 12:23 p.m.
Hope everybody had a great holiday season! Mine was good. I had a chance to spend Christmas with my family for a little while before we flew to New York. On New Year’s Eve, we got a win over Orlando and then I was able to spend more time with my family and teammates. I think I always give pretty good presents. I got the whole team some speakers from JBL. I got some good stuff as well from my peoples.
Steve Martin Night last Friday was also great. I had a chance to see him the day before and got to speak with him. He says he’s enjoying retirement. He said he probably should have been retired a lot earlier because he’s enjoying it so much! He looks good. I’m happy for him.
We have one more home game tonight against Dallas before heading out on a six-game Western Conference road trip. We always want to play well here at home just because we know how tough it is to get road wins. We’ve been struggling on the road. We want to come in tonight and take care of business. The Mavericks are a pretty good team. It would be a pretty big win for us just because we’re going on such a long road trip. It’s a pretty tough trip as well. We have to be prepared.
We won’t have Cody or Jeremy tonight, but I’m excited to see some of our younger guys get increased opportunities and big minutes. I know what they’re capable of. Those guys are really good players. We just have to be confident in those guys, which we are. It’s going to be fun being out there with them.
Although this upcoming trip is 11 days, packing is pretty much the same for me. As far as my clothes, I pick everything out. I do all that stuff myself. I just go by the city, the weather. I look at my phone, go to the weather app and whatever city we’re going to, I put it in and see what it’s going to be like on the days we play. We’re going to cold weather, warm weather, so I mix it up. A few coats, a few short sleeves, which is pretty good. It’s not too bad, but it’s a long trip, so you have to bring a lot more stuff than usual.
I’m looking forward to this trip. We haven’t been on a long one like this yet this season. I think it’s a great bonding opportunity for us. Pretty much all we have is each other on the road. In those arenas, nobody is really rooting for us. It’ll give us a chance to get comfortable on the road. We’ve been really struggling on the road, so I think this will help us.”
It’s Another Busy Week with Christmas Almost Here!
By Marvin Williams
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 12:15 p.m.
Over the last few games, I’m definitely feeling better on the court. Obviously, I had a slow start to the season shooting the ball. I felt like I was doing a pretty decent job of contributing in other areas though. I stuck to my routine. Sometimes, it’s a little dry for you, but it’s feeling better now definitely.
In terms of rebounding, I feel like we’ve always been a team that is predicated on rebounding by committee. Outside of having Dwight Howard last year who cleaned the glass for us on both ends, we’ve always done it together. Sometimes, it’ll be a stretch where I’ll get going or Jeremy Lamb will have stretches where he’s going or Cody or Nic. You never really know who it’s going to be, but I’ve been trying to put forth a conscious effort on the backboards.
We had a good practice on Tuesday. Obviously, Friday’s loss to the Knicks was devastating. Take nothing away from them, but it was disappointing. New York played extremely well. On Saturday after exerting so much energy on Friday night, we were emotionally and physically wiped out. We had one of the hottest teams coming into our building in the Lakers and we kind of got beat up there too. It was a tough weekend, but we had the Christmas Party on Sunday. Coach actually gave us an additional day off, which is something I’ve never experienced in my career. I think guys’ spirits are really, really high right now. We all went to the Panthers game on Monday night. We’ve all been together hanging out away from basketball the last 48 hours and I really think it’s done us some good.
Our final two games of this homestand are against teams we’ve faced before. Cleveland got the better of us the last time we saw them back in November. I think tonight will be a really good game for us to get back on track. On Friday, we play Detroit and we’ve always had big, physical games against those guys as well. Then, we’ve got Boston on Sunday, so we’ve got our hands full. It’s going to be a big, big week for us. Two of those games are at home, thankfully. We’ll try and take advantage of those before we get back out on the road.
After the Boston game though, we’re back home to celebrate the holidays. Christmas is probably my favorite holiday. Now that I have kids, Christmas is always a fun day. I’m definitely excited, my daughter’s really excited and my family’s excited for it. My daughter, Ari, especially, everything that she does, we’re always telling her that Santa’s watching. She wants to be as perfect as she can be. I think Christmas Eve, she’ll try and stay up as late as possible, but you know that never works out. It’ll be a fun time for us Christmas morning.
I bet if you wrapped up her toys that she has now, she wouldn’t even know the difference! She just enjoys opening things. The first two Christmases that she had, she literally spent more time with the wrapping paper than she did with anything that anybody got her. She just enjoyed ripping the paper up. She’s very grateful for anything that she gets. It’s a fun time to see the excitement on her face.
If I was to play Santa for our team, I’d get Kemba a trip to fashion week in Europe or something. He’s really into fashion. He’s one of the better dressed guys in the NBA. I’m sure he might enjoy something like that. I would get Dwayne, Miles and the other younger guys nice three-piece suits – something that they’ve never put on. They haven’t worn a suit since probably draft night, so I’d get them all a nice custom-tailored suit just so they’d have it in case they’d ever have to pull it out. As for me, I just want a few more wins and to make the playoffs. That’s what I want.
Let me finish by saying Happy Holidays to all the fans out there. We always appreciate your support each and every night. I just want to say Happy Holidays, definitely.
This is a Big Homestand for Us
By Kemba Walker
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2:02 p.m.
This upcoming homestand is super important. We’re really just getting an opportunity to get our record above .500 and to do it at home. We’re just trying to win games and get up in the standings, of course. We’re really just trying to establish ourselves with winning.
Two of our games in this upcoming five-game homestand are against Detroit, who is right next to us in the standings. We know how important these games are for us. We’re always talking to each other. We all look at the standings at this point. They’re really close and been close since the beginning of the season. We come into these games and we’re thinking win. We just have to go out there and get it.
Recently, we’ve been getting our energy back, playing together and getting back to the basics. I think sometimes when you don’t get a chance to practice as much, you kind of lose rhythm, kind of lose consistency. We got back to ourselves and I think we’re playing pretty well now. For the most part, it’s really defensively. Our defense creates our offense for us. We have to be more conscious of that every night.
It’s also super important for everybody on the team to be playing well at the same time. We need everybody in this league. Every night’s not just going to be me. We need guys to step up, especially now with teams really just gearing up on me and trying to take me out of the game as much as possible. The more we can get other guys stepping up, making plays and scoring big points, it just takes a lot of pressure off everyone.
Monday’s Win Was Great, Now We Need to Keep It Going
By Marvin Williams
Wednesday, Nov. 28, 1:33 p.m.
Monday’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks was probably one of the best games we’ve played defensively all year. They’ve been probably one of the top three teams in the NBA all season. To come in here and play as well as we did against those guys, it really was a big win for us.
One of the big keys was having Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back. You can kind of see when he’s not around as opposed to when he’s around. You can feel it when he came back. The game instantly changed the minute he stepped on the floor. I think guys just felt a sigh of relief knowing we had him back in uniform. He brings so much to our team from an injury standpoint, from an effort standpoint. He’s one of our leaders. Guys were definitely glad to have him.
After losing Sunday’s game in Atlanta and then winning Monday, I think it says a lot. You can make an argument both good and bad for our team. Obviously, we have to do better in the first game. Take nothing away from Atlanta. They did what they were supposed to do. You always want to protect your home floor no matter what your record is, no matter who suits up for you. That’s exactly what they did. It was a game we felt that if we played better, we definitely could have won. Obviously, we let it go, but to come back home, get in front of our fans and crowd, it really was a big win for us to play a great Milwaukee team. I’m feeling better individually, too. I’m taking the same shots that I was taking earlier in the year. They’re just finally going in, which helps a little bit!
In Atlanta, I got a tribute video as part of the organization’s 50thAnniversary and it was a really, really special moment. I’ve played for some incredible franchises over the course of my career: here for five years, in Salt Lake City for two and then being in Atlanta for seven. I have certainly been blessed throughout my journey. I’ve always enjoyed going back to Atlanta. In that community, I’ve met a lot of great people there. I’ve done a lot of great things there. I still have family there, so it is always a fun time to get back and go to Atlanta. The way they’ve always treated me and my family since I’ve been drafted has been first class. I’m really thankful for those guys, for sure.
I tied my season high with 20 points on Sunday. Honestly, I think sometimes guys do want to get back at their old teams whether they were traded or signed with a new team. For me personally, I’ve never really felt that feeling. It’s always been fun for me. It’s fun for me to go back to Atlanta to play. It’s fun to go back to Salt Lake and play. I spent time there and have friends there. I’ve always enjoyed it, personally. There’s no extra motivation to win or play well. Thankfully, I was able to play a little bit better and hopefully we can get the Hawks tonight.
It’s always tough to play a team multiple times that close together on the schedule. Whether it’s like a home-and-home or you have a day or two in between. Whether you win or lose, it’s always difficult. They did beat us last time. I know guys remember that. We all know that we can play better and we have to play better. Atlanta’s coming off a huge win last night in Miami, so I know they’re feeling good. Hopefully, we can come out tonight in the first quarter and set the tone defensively and then our offense follows suit.
Always Something to be Thankful For
By Marvin Williams
Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2:21 p.m.
First off, to all the fans in Charlotte, around the NBA and around the world, I definitely want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. I have to be honest, my family loves Thanksgiving. I try to be thankful every day that I have, especially for the little things. Obviously, my family, my friends, my job, my life – I’m very thankful for those things. I think for me, the thing I enjoy most is the food. I enjoy my family and friends. I definitely try and be thankful. Every day is Thanksgiving to me.
When it comes to turkey, usually roasted in the oven is good. My favorite dish is definitely my grandmother’s green beans. My mom has tried to make them for me at times. She’s done pretty well. My aunt’s done pretty well, but no one does it like my grandma does it. They’ll be in Dallas this Thanksgiving. My fiancé does a pretty good job, too. I’m definitely excited.
Back to those beans though – I’ve never seen my grandma do it. When I was a kid, she used to start cooking at like 2 a.m. in the morning. You could kind of hear her in the kitchen, banging around pots and pans. By the time you woke up, everything was pretty much done except the turkey. I’ve never actually seen her do it, but I do enjoy the outcome, definitely.
It’s always a blessing any time you have a chance to be home for Thanksgiving. Being an athlete in any sport, a lot of times you have to play on holidays. Any holiday that we get a chance to wake up and be around your family even for a short period of time (we do have to leave for Oklahoma City tomorrow evening), it really is a blessing, definitely.
Just recently, I got a chance to take my daughter out to the Speedway Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway. I’ve really enjoyed doing that the last couple of years. I’m super thankful that they invited me back again this year. My daughter really, really enjoyed it last year and she really enjoyed it this year. We got a chance to drive around and see the lights, which she really enjoyed. They have the little village there, too, where there is lots of activities. Great food, but probably not the best food to be eating during the season. The food is great and the people are so kind and friendly out there. My daughter got to take pictures with Santa Claus, which was fun. I was definitely thankful I had the opportunity to do that again.
I have to be honest, I’ve been thankful for Kemba Walker long before he scored 60 points last Saturday against Philadelphia or 43 points against Boston on Monday. From the moment I first signed in Charlotte, he was one of the first to really welcome me here. Not only from a basketball standpoint, but also from a friendship standpoint. He helped me get acclimated to the city. I knew Charlotte a little bit, but he really got me adjusted and he got me adjusted just playing here. My family – he got us all adjusted. He’s been very, very welcoming. I’ve been thankful for Kemba long before he started going crazy on the court, but definitely am thankful for the way he’s been playing lately, too.
As a team, we’re getting better. We still have a ways to go, obviously. Coach Borrego is doing a great job of pushing us each and every day. Our motto is to try and get better every day and I think we’ve been doing that. We’ve got a really good stretch here, a really challenging stretch, but I think it’ll be good for us. Obviously, beating a Boston team on Monday that we’ve struggled with the last couple of seasons was definitely a great win for us. Hopefully, we can carry that momentum into tonight’s game against a tough Indiana team.
Back to Work After Tough End to the Road Trip
By Marvin Williams
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 12:41 p.m.
Things didn’t really end the way we wanted them to on the road trip. With it being an off day, I’m sure guys are just trying to relax a little bit. We’re back, have a chance to be with our families, rest our bodies, rest our mind, but we’ve got a couple of days to get ready for a good Philadelphia 76ers team.
It’s good to have three days to rest and get two days of practice until then. We showed last night that we clearly need it. Take nothing away from Cleveland though. They played a heck of a game – offensively and defensively. We know we certainly didn’t play our best. We got a couple of days to get some quality work in and get ready for a good team on Saturday.
It’s nice to be able to roll into a three-game homestand. I feel like you can always get back right at home. I feel like we’ve always been very, very comfortable here when we’ve played here in the past. Guys like lacing them up and playing in front of our fans. Hopefully, it’ll be a great atmosphere the next couple of games and we can string together a few wins.
With the organization honoring the 30thAnniversary Team on Saturday, I’m looking forward to it personally to see some of the great Hornets legends. Guys that I played against and grew up watching play. Kemba’s a part of that as well, so I guess I can say played with, too. It’ll be a good night for me personally as a basketball fan.
An Honor to Be Named to 30th Anniversary Team
By Kemba Walker
Wednesday, Nov. 7, 3:26 p.m.
We’re coming off a 3-1 homestand and I think we’re all feeling pretty good. The Hive was alive last week and we really felt the fans’ energy and appreciate their support. All of us in the locker room really feel like we’re getting better every game, even in some of the losses that have been really close games. I think we’re doing a great job of just learning from every game and building on it.
Our offense has really been clicking to start the season and that’s a credit to our hard work and unselfishness. We’re a really unselfish group. We move the basketball pretty well and make the extra pass to get good shots. I think that is the biggest difference from the last couple years is just our unselfishness.
Now it’s time time head out on the road for a three-game trip, and this is an important one. Every game is important, but this is three games against teams in the Eastern Conference. We’re going to take them one game at a time and go out and win. One of our main goals is to try to rack up road wins. It’s hard to win on the road. It’s hard to win any single game in this league - home or away, but especially on the road. We just have to be locked in, try our best to execute the gameplan and try to take it from there.
When we get back home on November 17 against Philly, it’s going to be a big game for us. Not only are we going to be back in front of our fans at Spectrum Center, but it’s the 30th Anniversary Team recognition night on a Classic Night. It means a lot to me that the fans voted me onto this team. I feel like I’ve come a long way as a player, and for the fans to vote me in is a special feeling. That’s a lot of love because there is a lot of history with this franchise and a lot of great players who have come through here. For me to be one of 10 is special.
I’m honored to have come in third. I know Dell Curry came in 2nd and Alonzo Mourning came in 1st. That’s a pretty strong group to be a part of. When it first came out, Dell had a little laugh with me about it, but its all good! Dell was a very, very special player here and for me to even be in the same breath or conversation with him is a huge honor for me. I have tons of respect for Dell.
Don’t forget to get to the game early on the 17th too, so you can grab one of these T-shirts. They’re pretty dope! I’m loving the way they came out, especially with everyone with all of the different jerseys. I think that’s one of the cool things about it. It’s good to see GW (Gerald Wallace) on there too. He’s rocking that old Bobcats jersey and stands out. He was a helluva player when he was here too. I know the fans loved him, and I always enjoyed watching him play. He played so hard each and every night and that’s the kind of player you have to respect. I can’t wait to see who comes out on the 17th. Hope to see all of you there!
Happy Halloween Hornets Fans!
By Marvin Wiliams
Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2:25 p.m.
It’s my first blog of the year and I’d just like to start by saying that I hope everyone and their families have a great Halloween. Halloween is one of those holidays that is very special to me. Growing up, I always loved Halloween. My mom was always cool with us going trick-or-treating and stuff and we loved it. Now, my fiancé, Sheena, is really into it. Every year she picks out a family costume for us, and it’s funny because we had people hitting us up early because they were excited to see what we were going to be this year. We’re going with an Alice in Wonderland theme! My daughter, Ari, is the Queen of Hearts, my fiancé will be Alice and I’m going to be the Mad Hatter, so I’m really looking forward to it. I went to a Halloween party a couple days ago that MKG had for the team and I got some good reviews on the costume, so hopefully the kids in the neighborhood will like it and won’t be scared of the 6-9 Mad Hatter.
Trick-or-treating is always fun. I’m going to be honest with you all – if it was acceptable, I would be trick-or-treating as an adult. I mean you get to go door-to-door, dress up and get as much candy as you possibly can. It’s an awesome experience. Now my daughter loves to dress up. She like to put on her dress and walk around the neighborhood and go trick-or-treating and obviously I enjoy taking her, and it’s nice this year too because we’re home and don’t have a game so I can really be involved. I’m not a big schedule guy when it first comes out, but my fiancé will take it and analyze it, and first thing she looks at is where we’ll be during the holidays. It’s fair because she is very big on holidays and I love getting to spend time with the family, so I’m excited to get dressed up and have a good time.
I’m also excited about this Hornets team and where we’re at. We’re getting better and I’m getting better and that’s always encouraging. It is still very, very early and we obviously want to continue to make strides but I do think if you looked from where we were at Game 1 to where we were with Game 8 last night, we’ve gotten a lot better. We’ve been in every single game that we’ve played, and even most of our losses have been by a bucket. So we’re right there, as long as we continue to get better and keep working, I think we’ll be okay.
One thing that definitely drives us is the support of our fans. I love to be home. I love to be in this city. Charlotte has been wonderful to me personally. North Carolina has been wonderful to me. So any time we get a chance to put on the home uniform and get out there in front of the fans, it’s always a good time. They show so much support and always have. That’s the one thing I will say about this fan base since I’ve been here – win or lose, they’re always supportive and it really does mean a lot to all of us. Happy Halloween to you all! We’ll see you on the court tomorrow.
Road has Been Fun! One More Stop and We're Ready to Come Back Home
By Kemba Walker
Wednesday, Oct. 24, 3:09 p.m.
Opening Night was a lot of fun. We got the L, which none of us were happy with, but we finished off strong. Obviously we had two chances to win but fell short, but it was a really exciting game. I thought the fans enjoyed it, and I know we enjoyed it even though we lost. The way we fought, the way we came back and everything that we showed, really helped us going into the Orlando game. It kind of gave us an idea of who we are and how we need to play basketball games. For us to go to Orlando and play the way that we played and the way that we executed, it was fun. With the coaching staff we had last year, it was great to play against those guys, who are now in Orlando. It was fun all around and we knew we had to get off to a good start on this four-game road trip.
Starting games well is something we want to continually get better at. We have to set a tone for the guys that come off the bench. Lately, we’ve kind of been struggling with that by coming out slow and trying to work our way into a game. We can’t do that. We’re not that kind of team. We need to come out and throw the first punch each and every night. We have to be aggressive and set the tone for the guys coming off the bench.
Individually, I don’t think I’ve had a better start to a season since my junior year in college at the Maui Invitational in 2010. That was probably the last time. I’m really just being aggressive. I worked really hard over the summer on my body and on my knee in order to be healthy and be able to play. I haven’t been healthy like this in a few years. I’m really just feeling good. Of course, being healthy with my new-and-improved shot helps a lot.
My coaches give me freedom to be aggressive. My teammates help me to be super aggressive. I’m doing great things offensively because I’m able to draw defenders and then get rid of the basketball. Sometimes, my assists might now show, but I see other guys. I can pass it to another guy, so he can get it to the next guy. Those are the kind of plays that I make a lot. Yeah, it’s been fun. I’ve had a great start. I know it’s only been four games in, but it’s fun. I’m out there just enjoying myself and just trying to win. That’s my main focus. Just go out there and try and win.
Winning the Eastern Conference Player of the Week Award means a great deal, of course. To be recognized in this league that has so many great players, it’s always a great accomplishment. I’m nothing without my teammates, of course. These guys allow me to be myself. They’re the ones that allow me to get the points. They make passes to me, they create for me, they make plays for me. They take pressure off me. They allow me to play my game. They allow me to be a leader and I respect that about them.
It’s important to close out this first trip with a win and 3-1 road record. We’d love to do that. To be 3-1 on the road, it’s always tough to win when you’re the visitor in this league. If we can get that done, that’d be a huge accomplishment, especially going back home, where we play five of our next six games. We lost the home opener, but now, we want to try our best to get this last one on the road and go back home and get another win. I can’t wait to play in front of our home fans. It feels like we haven’t played at home in years! It feels like such a long time that we’ve been away. I’m excited and really happy to get back to Charlotte.
I’m Ready to Get Things Going on Opening Night!
By Kemba Walker
Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2:19 p.m.
To put it in perspective, I feel like this is my first NBA game. I’m hyped. I’m excited. I’m just ready to get going. Watching the two games last night, after seeing that, the NBA season is finally here. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve been done since April from last season. We’re done with preseason and now the regular season is here. The games matter [starting] with the opening game. I can’t wait.
We’ve got a new coaching staff. We’ve got some new players, a new system. Last year was a pretty disappointing season, obviously. Now, it’s a fresh start for us and we’re just ready to show people the work we put in over the summer - the work we put in over the course of the preseason and training camp. We’re ready to take our games to another level. We just want to win. We want to go out there and execute and play with great energy and really show the fans how much we will improve.
Having the classic jerseys and classic court for Opening Night is exciting. I got a chance to be on the court – I actually had a chance to work out on it this morning. I’m super excited to feel that energy. I always hear stories about how crazy it was when the old Hornets were here. To have that feeling is going to be great. Hopefully, the fans bring that energy tonight, but it’s going to be on us for those guys to have that energy and I think we’ll bring it out.
I’m going to come out with a lot of energy tonight just because I’m so excited. The adrenaline’s going to be pumping. Everyone’s excited. That’s just how it is on Opening Night. So excited - and like I said, it’s been such a long summer for us. We’re just ready to show and prove what we can do.
Going 4-1 in the preseason counts for us. I know the record doesn’t count, but we went out there in the preseason in those games and we took those games very serious. We weren’t really worried about the other teams we were playing against. The mindset for us was to go out there and execute what we did in our practices and just get better possession by possession, day by day, game by game. We wanted to execute. We wanted to get better. They mattered to us. We know they didn’t count. We know right now we’re 0-0, but at the same time, we got better in those games. We executed our offense. Whenever we made a mistake defensively, we spoke to each other and we got it right.
It helps to have other options on any team. The more guys that you can have scoring or just playmaking in general, it helps. To have more options is better. Whenever you have other guys making plays, it just takes more pressure off me. It just makes things easier for me as a player.
I also think having depth brings trust. It allows me to trust guys. I always trust my teammates, but it’s a great feeling to know that guys are going to come in, be about their business, go in, execute, play hard and play the right way. Honestly, a lot of that has to do with Tony Parker coming off the bench. He’s been a starter in our league for years. He just knows how to manage the game, he knows how to talk to guys, he knows how to bring the best out of guys and that’s what he’s doing. He’s dictating the tempo and that means a lot. It’s an honor to have him. He’s the reason I think our bench is going to excel.
It's almost gametime. Let’s go! I can’t wait to see you all at Spectrum Center tonight when we tip off.