Kemba, Young Core Playing Strong Down The Stretch
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 Marvin Williams
Wednesday, April 3, 1:57 p.m.
Our four-game road trip and the regular season are coming to an end. We’ve got some players dealing with injuries, but I think if you look at all the teams in the NBA, you always have a few guys who are pretty beat up at this point. That’s always tough, especially when you’re trying to make a playoff push. With that being said, we’re still a couple games back from that eighth spot. Guys are still fighting to make the postseason.
One guy that doesn’t look beat up though is Kemba, who has been playing at another level since Day 1. Obviously, he came into this season on mission. He wanted to make this team better and he’s played like it each and every day. Every day in the games, every day in the practices. No matter what the situation is, no matter what the circumstances are, you’re always going to get 100% from Kemba. That’s why he’s our leader and that’s why he’s an All-NBA player.
Our young guys have continued to improve with their play, too. You see those guys and they’ve all been in a little different situation. Devonte’ and Dwayne spent time in the G League to get some reps and they took full advantage of that. Malik has played, then not played and now played some more. Miles went from playing a little bit to starting. Their roles have changed dramatically from the start of the season, but I think the most impressive thing about it is that those guys have been ready. They’ve really truly taken advantage of their opportunities. They worked extremely hard whether it be in the weight room, practice or having film sessions with Coach Borrego. When they’ve had their opportunities like they do now, they’re really, really playing well and it’s because of all the hard work they’ve done earlier in the season.
This Friday is Fan Appreciation Night at Spectrum Center and that’s always a fun thing. I think as players, you can’t thank the fans enough. Every night, we’re appreciative of them showing up. Win or lose, they’ve always been so supportive of us in Charlotte. It really is a good feeling to go out there each and every night and know that the city has your back and that they’re pulling for you.
Sadly, my Tar Heels got eliminated in the NCAA Tournament last weekend, but college basketball has still been incredible this month. There’s been some really, really good games. The one thing I feel like about the NCAA Tournament now is no matter what your seeding, teams are still going to go out there and put up a great fight. That Purdue vs. Virginia game was one of the best college games I’ve seen in a long time. That was a really, really good game and a lot of fun to watch. The Duke vs. Michigan State game was also fun to watch. Obviously, I was an honorary Spartan for that one! It’s been a great tournament and I’m really looking forward to the Final Four. That being said, I don’t have a dog in the fight, so I’ll pull for Michigan State to win it and support Miles and those guys that are there.
We’re Playing for the Postseason and Our Young Guys Are Stepping Up
By Kemba Walker
Wednesday, March 27, 1:57 p.m.
We’re on a four-game winning streak right now and I’m feeling good. We’re just competing really. These young guys really hold our energy out there. They change the pace, which is moving really fast. It’s been fun just being out there and competing. We’re playing for something, so I think that makes it even more exciting.
I wouldn’t say it’s surprising that we’re playing so well with the young guys. They work hard each and every day, but it’s fun to see them grow up pretty fast with the way they’re playing and the number of minutes they’re playing. They didn’t play as much earlier this season so it’s definitely been fun to watch.
I really think they’re just out there right now playing carefree. They had a chance to watch our season, learn, watch the game, see the things that they can do. I think that has a lot to do with it. With these guys, I can’t stress enough how hard they work on a daily basis, how much film they watch with their specific coaches and things like that. It’s a good opportunity for them.
I think it’s helped me too because we’re playing in transition a lot. When these guys are running, they force me to get rid of the basketball. We’re just trying to play the game the right way like we try and do each and every night. I think especially as of late, I’ve had a lot of defensively attention throughout the season. Whenever I get two guys on me, I try and make the best play possible. Our guys have just been knocking down shots as of late.
All in all, I’m just trying to do what I can. I’ve been close to a couple triple-doubles lately, but I don’t really care about that. Just trying to get these wins, trying to get to the playoffs. I’m trying to do whatever I can to help this team succeed, help this team win, so whatever it takes really.
One guy in particular that’s been awesome is Dwayne. He’s one of the guys who just works super-hard. The thing I love about Dwayne the most is that he’s never complained throughout the course of the season. I know how bad he wants to play and I know he’s always felt like he should be playing, but he’s never wore it on his face. He’s never let it bring him down. He always cheers for his teammates when he’s not playing and now that he’s getting his opportunity, he’s making the best of it. It all attributes to hard work.
I’ve also seen Miles’ game open up a bit since he became a starter last month. He’s doing a little bit of everything. What I try and tell these guys is play as hard as you can and just let everything fall into place. That’s what’s been happening. We’ve been playing hard each and every possession. We’re letting the game come to us and not forcing things. These guys are having fun and Miles has been great, especially in transition and most importantly, defensively. He’s unreal. Last night, he had a huge, huge block for us in crunch time. He’s a great. He’s going to be a really great player.
And Devonte’ Graham too! He’s very polished. At the end of the day, he’s still a rookie and still has things to learn. He still makes a few mistakes, but not many. He’s going to learn to be a great player in this league. I’m excited to try and help him along this journey as much as I can. He’s another guy who is really fun to play with out there on the court. He understands the game. He has great pace, which is a skill. He doesn’t let anybody rush him. He gets to his spots, makes great passes. He’s a great player, too.
Overall, we’re having fun right now. We’re playing for something. This is the opportunity that we wanted. We put ourselves back in a great position. It’s fun and we’re competing to try and get to the playoffs.
We’re Helping Out at the Military Care Event Today!
By Marvin Williams
Wednesday, March 20, 2:24 p.m.
We had a light practice and film session today and afterwards, we headed upstairs to the Military Care Event, where we’re packaging supplies for the men and women stationed overseas. It’s just our little way of saying thank you. They’re out there fighting for our safety in the United States. We can’t say thank you enough for what they do for our country. We’ll put together some stuff for them and send them a little care package.
My father served in the military and I’ve got friends that I grew up with that joined the military. So, I have a deep, deep appreciation for what they do. I understand their job is not easy by any means and I just want them to know that I’m always thinking of them and am appreciative of them. I’m sure a lot of people out there in the United States feel the same way that I do.
I hope getting a care package or a small note will put a smile on their face. I couldn’t imagine what they have to endure every single day. I know it’s a tough job over there. Like I said, they’re putting their lives on the line for us each and every day. To get a care package like this and hopefully some things that they need and want, hopefully it does put a smile on their face.
It’s awesome having the entire team and organization out here helping, too. I feel like from Day 1, the Hornets organization has always tried to give back. Bank of America has been great with this and Food Lion has also been great with this. They’ve always tried to give back to the community and outside of the community as well. Any time we have an opportunity to help out and do that, I think guys really like to take advantage of it.
I Reached a Big Milestone and College Basketball is in Full Force!
By Marvin Williams
Wednesday, March 13, 2:07 p.m.
It feels good to be back at practice today! I missed our last game in Houston with an illness, but I’m doing better. I had a little stomach bug. Doctor said there’s a bug floating around and I guess I was a recipient of it. Thankfully, I am feeling better. I wasn’t at shootaround on Monday, so I didn’t know who was playing and who wasn’t. When I turned the TV on, I saw Cody wasn’t playing, Tony Parker was out and then I saw Nic on the sideline with his eyes all watery. I had no idea why, but his play can be limited with his eyes jacked up. It was really strange, but per usual, Coach Borrego had the young guys step up and really play well. We had an opportunity to win that game, but Houston is a great team and they pulled away at the end.
Being able to play strong in that second half on Monday just shows who we’re made of. It shows what Coach preaches to us every day. No matter who’s suiting up out there, you have to go out and compete, play together and play the right way in order to give yourself a chance to win. I felt like that’s what we did in Houston. We were just a little short-handed.
Last Friday, I played really well and scored 30 points, while hitting a career-high-tying seven three-pointers in our home win against Washington. I felt really good. We have been semi-rested because we haven’t been practicing much with so many games going on. We hadn’t had shootaround in a couple of games either. My legs just felt really good. Thankfully, it was just one of those nights. You play enough games and you’ll have some big-time nights. You’ll have some rough nights as well, but it’s all just part of the journey.
That win over Washington was big because they’re right there with us in the standings. Orlando and Miami are too. I think everybody knows exactly where we’re at and what we’re fighting for right now. We’re all trying to grab that seventh or eighth spot and we’re pushing as hard as we can. That was a huge win for us and we’ll get another crack at the Wizards on Friday night. Hopefully, we’ll play with that same energy and we’ll be able to walk away with a win again.
A couple weeks ago, I played in my 1,000th career regular season NBA game. Just saying that, it sounds crazy! It’s such a blessing to reach that milestone and to also be around that long. One thousand regular season games is a lot of games. To still be in the NBA, to still be healthy, to be able to contribute to the teams that I’ve been on, it’s certainly been a blessing. I thank God for it every day. I take no credit for me still being here. It’s simply from the grace of God that I’m still around. I’ve been blessed to be around some positive people throughout the course of my career. I’ve learned from some older guys, some great coaches and that’s kind of kept me around. I’m definitely thankful. I give God all the glory for longevity, absolutely.
Of course, I’m also paying attention to college basketball right now. March is always a fun time of the year. Even if you’re not a huge basketball fan, the NBA has teams right now jockeying for playoff position and then the NCAA Tournament is almost here. That’s always fun to participate in, even if you’re not a huge college basketball fan. I think if you just like sports in general, March is a really fun time. Baseball’s about to start up again. NFL free agency is going on right now. Hockey playoffs are about to start. There’s a lot of things going on in March. If you’re a sports fan, it definitely is a fun time.
My North Carolina Tar Heels are looking good right now. Coach Roy Williams has done an incredible job. They’ve got a lot of young guys on the team, but they also have some great senior leadership. The seniors that they have remind me of the guys that I had when I was a freshman at UNC in 2004-05. They showed me the right way, they worked hard every single day and did things the right way on and off the court. They showed me what the Carolina way is about. I feel like the seniors now have done a tremendous job of really bringing the freshmen along. They’re all really playing at a high level right now and they look really good with the NCAA Tournament coming up. They’re flying under the radar, but that’s the best position that I want to be in – when everybody’s got their eyes on somebody else! It’s the best way to be.
It’s always fun in the locker room this time of year, too. The conversation always comes to ahead because we have four National Champions in our locker room in me, Kemba, Jeremy and MKG. We’ve got a lot of guys that have gotten close, too. Frank and Devonte’ have played in the Final Four and Miles had great success in college. The conversation is always fun to have, definitely. I’ve been telling MKG for five years that the 2005 Tar Heels would have beaten his 2012 Kentucky Wildcats, but he doesn’t believe me.
Playoff Push Upon Us, Fan Support is Crucial
By Kemba Walker
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 12:44 p.m.
This is it Buzz City. We’ve got 22 games left in the regular season and I can say that we’re focused and locked in right now. This team really wants to get to the playoffs. That’s our main goal right now. We want to win as much as we can and give everything we can to try and win these games. I know we’re coming off two losses, but we played very hard and did pretty well. Unfortunately we lost, but our main goal remains to stay in the playoff hunt.
I’m feeling pretty good right now. I’m just trying to do as much as I can to try and help this team win games. I’m trying to be aggressive and knew I was going to have to play a lot of minutes in this last stretch of games as we make the playoff push. I’m just trying to care of myself as best I can so I’m physically and emotionally ready to do so.
We also made some changes to the lineup after the break and guys have to step up now that J-Lamb (Jeremy Lamb)is out of the starting lineup. Obviously, J-Lamb was bringing so much offense to our starting five, but now that he’s out, we need other guys to step up. Nic (Batum), Cody (Zeller) and Marvin (Williams) have been prime examples of that and have been playing great. J-Lamb has been doing really well accepting his role, too. He’s bringing a lot of scoring off the bench, which we really, really needed. So it’s been working out for us.
I also have to talk about our fans for a second. The crowd here has been amazing. Our fans have been helping us so much in these first three games back after the All-Star break, and we recognize that. Hopefully it continues because I know our fans are ready for this playoff push too. We’ve got another big game tonight against Houston - a great team with great players. We want to do what we can to go out there and try to get a win, and we’re definitely going to need our fans’ help!
The All-Star Break is Over and It’s Time to Buckle Down
By Marvin Williams
Thursday, Feb. 21, 1:22 p.m.
With the All-Star Break over, it feels good to get back to work. I did get a chance to take my daughter to the beach during the time off – we built a lot of sandcastles! We stayed in Orlando after last week’s game for a couple of days and then drove to West Palm Beach, FL. Sunny days, 80 degrees – we just kind of enjoyed it and relaxed.
Coming back, I thought it was awesome that Charlotte had the opportunity to host All-Star Weekend. Obviously, we had a chance a couple years ago and it fell through. For everything to work out again, the city of Charlotte has experienced All-Star Weekend. It looked like it was an amazing time. Miles and Kemba did an incredible job. We’re all really proud and really happy for them. It seemed like a good time! I definitely followed from afar.
Our last game against the Magic wasn’t very good. Obviously as a team, you never want to look forward to a break. Give Orlando a ton of credit. We just didn’t do a good job and I mean “we” as players because Coach Borrego continued to preach to us that we still have business to take care of. We didn’t take that very seriously, unfortunately. We laid an egg out in Orlando, but I think guys have had a chance to think about that, get away a little bit, refresh their minds, refresh their bodies. We’ve had two good days of practice and I think we’re ready for the challenge ahead of us.
We have seven of our next eight at home and a bunch of upcoming games against teams close to us in the standings. It’s almost like a 2-for-1 scenario. You beat a team you’re competing with, you’re one up on them in the season series and you get another win in the win column. The teams that are in our conference, the teams that are in our division, those are going to be huge games. Thankfully, we’ll get a chance to play a lot of those teams here. We’ll take them one at a time, but make no mistake, every game from here on out has got to be like a playoff game for us.
These games are fun though. Being in this position is always fun. Anytime you’re trying to make the playoffs, you want to be playing in games that are playoff-like that have those kinds of implications. Every game in the playoffs is huge and we have to treat every game the rest of the season like it’s a playoff game. Other teams are going to be coming in fighting for the playoffs just like we are. Each and every night, it’s going to be huge for us, it’s going to be tough for us, but I think guys are up for the challenge.
By Kemba Walker
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 1:52 p.m.
NBA All-Star Weekend is almost here and I’m feeling a combination of both nervousness and excitement. I know I’m going to be doing a lot because I play for the host team. I’m excited. It’s going to be fun. I’m excited to welcome all the players here. I know I am going to get asked a lot of questions about where things are, so I’m just trying to get mentally prepared for that. It’s going to be fun. It’s a great weekend to celebrate the game of basketball and the city of Charlotte. What more can I want?
I’m also excited to showcase Charlotte. I don’t think too many people know too much about the city. I love it. I’m a huge fan of this place. I’ve been here for the last eight years. This is home for me. I think I pretty much know where everything is. I know I’m going to be put to the test over the weekend, but I’m excited to showcase the city. There’s going to be a lot going on around here in many different places. It’ll be fun.
Two years ago, I was at my first All-Star Game and now, it’s crazy I’m a starter in Charlotte. Time flies. Three-time All-Star. I don’t know if I could have told anybody that would have been possible a few years ago, but the hard work has paid off. From being in my first All-Star Game in New Orleans to being a starter now in the game – especially after being a replacement last year – it’s crazy.
I’m also competing in the Three-Point Contest, but I’m not sure if my experience will help after doing it two years ago! I think I’m still a little nervous. I was nervous then and I think I’m even more nervous now. I have to shoot against Steph Curry! We’ve got some great shooters in Steph, Devin Booker (who won it last year), Seth Curry. Just add Dell and the whole Curry family is about to be out there!! It’s going to be exciting and I think it’s going to be a show. I’m just excited to be a part of it, honestly. I’ve come a long way shooting the basketball, so for me to get the opportunity to be in the NBA Three-Point Contest for the second time in my career, I’m super hyped about it. I can’t remember a field this stacked. That’s why I’m pretty excited about it. I think the fans are going to love this one. It’s going to be dope.
I’m excited for Miles to compete in the Slam Dunk Contest, too. I love when other guys get a chance to get some notoriety. He’s an amazing dunker. I remember watching Miles when he was in college, so I knew what kind of dunker he was. When we drafted him, I was excited. His athleticism is second to none and I’m excited for him to be here at home as well. Get some notoriety, get a chance to be on TV. A lot of people are going to be watching that event, of course. That’s one of the most well-known events of the weekend. I think he’s going to put on a show. I can’t say what I’ve seen behind the scenes though! I just know it’s going to be exciting and hopefully he gets the crowd out of their seats.
I’ll also be doing some work in the community this weekend, which is super important. There’s going to be other big-time guys with me, which is going to be fun. The people and the community in Charlotte are going to get a chance to see others besides me. They’re probably tired of seeing me! When you’ve got guys like LeBron James, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard, people get excited. Even me, I’m always excited to be around those guys. We all compete against each other each and every night, but when we’re off the court and we’re around each other, it’s like we’ve known each other for a long time. A lot of us grew up playing against each other in AAU and have known each other for years. It’s going to be cool. I’m excited for the people out there in the community that get a chance to see these other guys because I know it’s a dream come true for them.
Lastly, I haven’t really thought much about what it’s going to be like to hear my name announced as a starter up on the stage come Sunday night. I was thinking a little bit about how I’ve always dreamed about coming up through the stage floor. That’s something I’ve always wanted to do! I’m excited to have the opportunity to do that this year, especially here in my home city. I can’t even imagine how it’s going to be.
Miles and I Are Excited for All-Star Saturday Night!
By Kemba Walker
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 10:07 a.m.
Last night’s loss to the Clippers was a tough one, but lately, we’ve been playing better. I think we’ve just picked our energy up. That’s really been it for the most part. We’ve just picked our energy up. Just try and play harder and not worry about things as much. Just kind of let the game come to us instead of trying to force it as a team. So, I think that’s been the difference.
I was also recently on the cover of SLAM magazine for the first time ever! It’s cool. It’s a good feeling, a good feeling to be recognized. I know my family loves it. It’s pretty cool.
I’m really excited that I got chosen for the Three-Point Contest on All-Star Weekend. I’m excited. It’s a really fun event. I’m just happy to be able to be in that competition. It’s just fun. It’s a really, really fun thing to do. I’m excited I’m able to get recognized to even be a part of that. I was super nervous the first time I did it in 2017. I don’t know why. It’s just a little nerve-wracking. Everyone is watching. There are only a select few guys in it, so everybody is just expecting you to make all your shots.
Miles is also going to be in the Slam Dunk Contest as well. I’m excited for him. He’s a great dunker. I’m looking forward to sitting front row and watching and seeing what he can do. I’m glad he’s getting that recognition as well. Since I’ve been here, we haven’t had anybody be in the Dunk Contest. For us to have someone to represent us, it’s pretty cool.
Kemba Makes All-Star Starter as We’re Continuing to Get Better
By Marvin Williams
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 11:58 a.m.
Kemba Walker is officially an NBA All-Star Game starter! We were in Milwaukee and I was actually with my family when we found out. I called him and then stopped by his room just to congratulate him in person. I hugged him and told him he was well deserving of it. I just wanted him to know that we (his teammates and coaching staff) were extremely happy for him.
I actually will be out of town for the All-Star Game, but I do intend on obviously watching it. The first couple of All-Star Games that Kemba’s made the last two years, I have tuned in to watch him play. I really am looking forward to watching him be a starter. It’s a heck of an accomplishment for Kemba, but it’s also going to be such a special time for the Hornets organization, the city of Charlotte and people that have come out and supported our team and Kemba himself each and every night. To see him on that platform – the highest platform – it’s going to be an amazing time for everybody. I’ll definitely be tuned into a TV no matter where I’m at in the world.
We won our most recent game against the Knicks on Monday, even though we didn’t play great. Maybe a few months ago, it would have been tougher for us to win that game, but we have grown. We’ve learned some tough lessons earlier this season where we haven’t walked away with a victory. We remember those situations and again, we were put in that situation with the Knicks the other night. We just kept plugging away. We didn’t shoot it as well as we wanted to. We were getting great looks, but we never got frustrated, never got down. We just stuck with the gameplan and kept plugging away.
In the NBA, it’s tough to win games. That’s just the bottom line – home or the road. No matter your opponent, it’s hard to win. You have to play well most times to give yourself a chance to win. When you don’t play well, you have to do the little things and that’s what we did. We didn’t shoot well, but we rebounded, we defended. We were trying to generate points from our defense, which was really huge for us. We just stuck with it. We stuck together and it was big win for us.
After tonight’s game in Boston, we’ve got a three-game homestand back in Charlotte, where we’ve been playing really well lately. We’ve been on the road for so much this past month, I think finally getting back home brings some excitement in itself. I think guys enjoy playing in front of our home fans, in front of our crowd. The city of Charlotte comes out and supports us every night and they do make it difficult for opposing teams to come in there and get a win. We definitely feed off the energy and enjoy playing in front of our fans. I think that’s definitely a bonus. We’ve got a tough one here tonight in Boston. We’ll try and figure out this one first and then focus on the homestand when we get back to Charlotte.
Our Defense is Improving and Kemba Should Be an All-Star Starter
By Marvin Williams
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2:25 p.m.
We’re out in Memphis right now and as a team, we’ve been playing pretty well lately. I feel like I’ve had a good month, but I can’t say I’ve done anything different. I just keep working hard every day. You know how it is throughout the course of the season. You have stretches where you’re playing really well and sometimes you have other stretches where you’re not playing as well as you would like. Thank God I’ve been kind of moving in the right direction. Keep plugging away and hopefully we can make a playoff push.
I think guys are feeling good right now. Obviously, the West Coast trip was a tough trip, but it ended on such a great note. Seeing the reception that Tony got in San Antonio was incredibly inspiring and to go out there and beat the Spurs was an unbelievable win for our team. I think that really kind of jumpstarted us. We went home and took care of business and then had a tough one in Indiana. The Pacers are playing extremely well and are a very good team. That loss is nothing to hang our heads about. We have to bounce back tonight against a really good Memphis team.
Coach Borrego has stressed to us about having a defensive identity this season. As one of our team’s leaders on defense, I honestly don’t feel much pressure because naturally, it’s kind of who I am as a player. I’ve always felt like I’ve been able to defend a lot of positions thanks to coaches that I had when I was younger. Growing up in the NBA, coaches always stress defense. They taught me defense, how to switch, how to rotate, how to understand personnel. Physically, I feel like I’m a guy that can guard a couple of positions as well. That definitely does help out, but it doesn’t put any pressure on me. Coach knows that I value defense, a lot of us value defense and we’re going to be a better defensive team. We just have to continue to keep working at it.
Lately, I’ve been playing some center in small-ball lineups, which is different. At this point of the season though, I’m certainly used to it. Coach and I spoke quite a bit about it this summer and he told me to prepare to play some backup five. I didn’t realize how much I would play, but I feel like it does work for us sometimes depending on what’s going on out there. I am able to hold the fort down a little bit against other teams’ backup fives. On offense, I feel like it helps us out as well. We’re able to play with five guys out and it gets us a ton of space out there on the court. It has been effective for us at times and hopefully it’ll continue being effective for us down the stretch.
Like I said, we’re getting better defensively. We continue to keep working and keep communicating. I think if the young guys keep getting more experience, they’ll keep getting better. I think the biggest thing for us is when we’re out there and we’re on top of our coverages and communicate well, we give ourselves a chance to win games. If you look at the numbers, we’re a really good team when we play defense. We just have to continue to defend as the season goes on.
Lastly, I think Kemba Walker deserves to be an All-Star starter, which will be announced on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET. It’s an absolute no-brainer. I think from what he’s accomplished this season, he certainly deserves to be a starter. I know everybody in the organization and everybody in the city of Charlotte is going to be pushing for that. As his teammates, we feel like he deserves it. He’s a heck of a leader. He’s our best player. He’s a heck of a guy, most importantly. I think nobody would be happier than me for sure if he made it as an All-Star starter. He deserves it.
Back in Charlotte with Home Games, Glen Rice Night and All-Star on the Horizon
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.