By Cesare Milanti / firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the biggest hits of this summer’s transfer market in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague saw the four-time NBA All-Star Kemba Walker moving to Monaco to help the red-and-white side grow even more.
After reaching the EuroLeague Final Four in the Monegasque club’s second-ever season in the most important European competition, Sasa Obradovic‘s team decided to add another piece to the puzzle, bringing the 33-year-old point guard overseas.
The American playmaker, who’s yet to debut with his new team in the LNB, where AS Monaco is currently on top of the standings with a 3-0 record, talked to Eurohoops about this new adventure. “I don’t really have any expectations, to be honest, I’m just here to play basketball. I’ve been on new teams plenty of times, I don’t look at it any differently. The guys are hoopers, really good hoopers. Really good people, easy to get along with”, he first said about the environment he found so far.
Playing against hot crowds like in Belgrade – both with Partizan and Crvena Zvezda -, Athens – same with Olympiacos and Panathinaikos -, or Tel Aviv, the former Charlotte Hornets, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, and Dallas Mavericks player will experience something way different in terms of audiences.
“It’s something I’m really looking forward to experiencing”, he said about playing in places like the Stark Arena, or the most buzzing European arenas. “I’ve heard great things about the different environments, and how wild some of the different places are. That’s what I love about the game, one of the biggest differences between European basketball and the NBA”, Kemba Walker added.
No matter what Kemba Walker remains the biggest signing in Europe.
And he has arrived 💥pic.twitter.com/izoPrnVaMl
— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) August 16, 2023
Former EuroLeague players influenced Kemba Walker
In his first interview coming to Europe, the American point guard explained one of his friends and former teammates with the UConn Huskies Shabazz Napier, who moved to the EuroLeague first with Milano and now with Crvena Zvezda, had high words for the competition when discussing about it.
However, he wasn’t the only one who influenced Kemba Walker in his decision to sign for AS Monaco. “Two of my friends, Edgar Sosa and James Feldeine, two guys who played in the EuroLeague once upon a time. They had nothing but great things to say about it”, he explained by referring respectively to the former Dinamo Sassari and former Panathinaikos and Crvena Zvezda players.
“They were other influences for me to really accept it. I know how good of a league it is, everything doesn’t have to be the NBA. EuroLeague is one of the best basketball leagues in the world, I’m happy to be here”, he went on to add regarding his decision to cross the Atlantic Ocean. “I’ve been having a great time thus far. It’s definitely different, but it’s a beautiful place to be and I’m happy to be able to experience it. This is something really cool. I had my experiences in the NBA, so for me to experience that and be able to experience this, I appreciate it”, he then said about his first weeks in Monaco.
Before the countdown to the 2023-24 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season could start, the 2023 FIBA World Cup saw Team USA finishing out of the podium for the second straight time, ending the International competition without a medal on their neck.
Kemba Walker, who represented his country back in 2019 by averaging 14.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game, talked about what’s like playing that kind of tournament. “It’s fun, it’s a great experience. You play against other guys around the world, and it’s very different. It’s a different style of basketball, physicality. You have to adjust. In any sport, it’s all about who’s better that night. In the game of basketball, anybody can come prepared on any given night”, the four-time NBA All-Star finally added.
𝑲𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒂 𝑾𝒂𝒍𝒌𝒆𝒓 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒄𝒆 💨 pic.twitter.com/3v3lOvfa5J
— SKWEEK (@skweektv) September 21, 2023
PHOTO CREDIT: AS Monaco Basket