It was an emotional evening for Lonnie Walker on Friday as the San Antonio Spurs hosted the Los Angeles Lakers. This was Walker’s first time being back in his old stomping ground following his summer move to Hollywood. The 23-year-old had another noteworthy performance as he helped LA to a 105-94 win over his former team, and it is clear that Walker had a lot riding in this game.
Walker, who spent the first four seasons of his career with the Spurs after the team drafted him as the No. 18 overall pick in 2018, admitted that he was feeling all sorts of emotions as he returned to San Antonio for the first time since leaving. Walker spoke out about how the city continues to hold a special place in his heart:
“Very emotional,” Walker said (h/t Damian Burchardt of Lakers Nation). “I mean, I’m still kind of emotional just being back home. This is pretty much home for me. You know, my mom still lives here and stuff like that. So I’ve done a lot for the community, the community has done a lot for myself. The bond between, not only off the court, with the city of San Antonio, and with the organization, it’s all love. I’m still family.”
Walker, who finished the win with 18 points, four 3-pointers, two rebounds, two assists, and three steals, then revealed that his move away from the Spurs actually came as quite a surprise for him:
“I actually expected to come back, I didn’t know what the price was going to be considered, you know, I didn’t play my best going into the season. I was shooting the ball pretty bad and then you, after All-Star break, it’s kind of when I turned it up,” Walker said. “I kind of thought I was going be a Spur for life, to say the least. You know, this is my family, this is why I moved my family over here.”
Simply put, Lonnie Walker did not see that coming. He obviously wanted to make things work with the Spurs, but they just weren’t able to agree on a price. The Lakers, on the other hand, tabled a one-year deal worth $6.5 million, and this was too good an opportunity to pass up for the former University of Miami standout.
Be that as it may, there’s no bad blood between Lonnie Walker and the Spurs. As a matter of fact, he has nothing but love for his former team as well as his former teammates:
“So, I know a lot of people wanted to portray this as a revenge game or anything, but there’s no revenge with this team,” he said. “There’s nothing but family. I was more so focused on getting the win and continue to stack the days with my teammates.”