Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist says Kemba Walker inspires him
Charlotte Hornets defensive ace Michael Kidd-Gilchrist says Kemba Walker was his ultimate inspiration when he earned a contract extension in 2015. Kidd-Gilchrist signed a four-year, $52 million deal that year, and he thanked Walker for motivating him to be better every day.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote a heartfelt column on Walker’s rise to a top-tier superstar, including MKG’s comment on how the Hornets love Kemba as a teammate.
Teammates grew to love him. When Michael Kidd-Gilchrist signed his extension in 2015, Walker was the first person he thanked. “Not my mother, not my sister, not my brother,” he says. “It was Kemba. He inspired me.”
The 25-year-old small forward has been criticized for being selected too early in a draft class that included perennial stars like Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond, and Draymond Green. Though he hasn’t been the All-Star-caliber player the Hornets envisioned him to be when they selected him second overall during the 2012 draft, Kidd-Gilchrist has excelled in his role as a defensive stopper for the team.
Interestingly, Walker and Kidd-Gilchrist have something in common when they entered the league as rookies. Both of them had broken shooting forms. So it’s no wonder that the two young guns hit it off right away as they tried to improve their respective perimeter games.
Of course, we all know who fared better in that department. While Walker has worked his way into becoming one of the transcendent scorers in the league, Kidd-Gilchrist has focused on being a do-it-all glue guy for Charlotte.