Post-game Reactions

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The esteemed Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated profiles Antoine Walker and his ongoing attempts at a comeback.

An excerpt:

Walker’s fall began a year after the championship, when the Heat traded him to the lottery-bound Timberwolves, who in turn shipped him to the Grizzlies, then one of the worst teams in the league. It was no place for a vet. Walker accepted a buyout in December 2008 and, at 32, left the league. A year later, in 2009, he was charged with a DUI. That same year, the Red Rock, Caesars Palace and Planet Hollywood casinos in Vegas filed a complaint after Walker passed bad checks and unsuccessfully tried to bargain for what he calls a “discount” on his gambling losses. Walker pleaded guilty to felony bad check charges and is currently on probation and saddled with a non-interest-bearing debt of roughly $770,000, which he likens to a “student loan or a house note.”

To get back in the clear, all he needs is one more one-year NBA contract, but that appears highly unlikely. Ask G.M.’s, coaches and front-office execs about Walker, and they will tell you that he isn’t on their radar. He’s not a role player, not young enough, not a defender. They worry about his effect on the locker room, about the example he might set. “Let me put it this way,” says one Western Conference executive, “if you have the pick of the bunch and could get Ryan Bowen, who was always a model teammate, or Antoine Walker, which one would you take?”

His current teammates and coaches are kinder. To a man, they say they like Walker. He is described as “99% good” and possessing, according to assistant Joel Abelson, “the best basketball IQ in the D-League by far.” But they also worry about him. “This is a safe haven for Toine right now,” says Livingston, his coach. “When you’re done here, no one’s going to care that you’re an All-Star.” Livingston would know. Once considered the best high school point guard in the country, he suffered a run of injuries and became one of the most acclaimed grinders in NBA history, playing for 10 teams in 11 years and setting a record with 19 call-ups from the D-League. The Stampede players now live their days hoping for that call. They invoke the story of Jeremy Lin and other less renowned cases of 10-day guys who hit pay dirt, the guaranteed contract. “There are a hundred Jeremy Lins in the league,” Livingston says. “They just need a shot.”

Hit the link at the top for the full feature.

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Ryan DeGama

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  • red

    nobody cares!!

  • Tos

    I care. I’d like some team to take a chane on him, it’d be a nice ending to a pretty sad story.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Antoine did this all to himself. I don't feel bad for a dude who made 110 million dollars in his career and pissed it away, sorry. Dude could play in his day and I like him for that, but otherwise he's another case of a dude who sh!t the bed. I don't have ANY pity for him, and being a guy busting his a$$ as a school teacher everyday, I certainly won't begin to any time soon.

  • James Patrick

    For the longest time it was Toine and Pierce. That tandem almost got us to the finals against the Nets (remember when they were good?) It makes me sad that Walker didn't amount to his full potential. But this could be said for alot of NBA stars who don't know how to handle their fame and especially their fortune (ie Alan Iverson). I wish Walker the best. Hope he can turn it around.

  • CelticsBIG3

    On a different topic, it appears Golden State has traded Monte Ellis. At least we won't have to deal with him tomorrow night.

    • CG12

      For GS it could be addition by subtraction. Ellis has amazing skills, but is a straight chucker. I'm maybe even more glad that Udoh won't be there – the big guys are the issue.

      • CelticsBIG3

        This is true about bigs. Also true about Ellis being a chucker.

  • felix

    Go Boston Go!
    Just had to say this. hope nobody minds:)
    on another note – why no news on Wilcox? And JO?

  • SERdre

    Just had to say this. hope nobody minds:)
    AHA academic plagiarism

  • You have to wonder if he will be sticking around the team in some non-player capacity. It seemed like there was a bit of a mutual love affair going on.

  • Great to know, he has again win the game.I hope, I will get more news to win the many championship in future.thanks.