It has been nine years since Antoine Walker announced that he would be retiring from the NBA in 2012. During his 11 seasons in the league, Walker accumulated 15,647 points and almost 5,000 rebounds in 893 games with five different teams.
Those teams include the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, and the Miami Heat. He helped the Miami Heat team win their first championship in 2006 beating the Dallas Mavericks in six games.
Walker is most notably known for his time in Boston where he spent his first six seasons. So, if any team where to retire Walker’s jersey it would be Boston, but that has not been done. In fact, Kemba Walker is currently rocking Walker’s number eight as a member of the Boston Celtics.
So, why hasn’t his jersey not hanging in the rafters? According to Walker, it’s because of his relationship with Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. Walker was a guest on Heavy With Scoop B, hosted by Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson.
“The organization and the team treats me really well. When I’m in town, and if I ask for anything, they make me feel that I’m part of the organization. But I think me and Danny Ainge had too many spats. And I believe that Danny doesn’t… I don’t think Danny wants to be a part of that because I’m not one of ‘his guys’ if that makes sense. And no offense,” said Walker.
“I hear that they are going to retire Kevin Garnett’s jersey. Kevin won a championship, but I don’t [think] people think of Kevin as Boston, and that’s no offense there. When you think of Kevin, you think of Minnesota. He played great in Boston. I’m never taking anything away from Kevin; that’s my boy. But you don’t think about him being in the rafters in Boston.”
When the Celtics signed Kemba Walker in 2019, Ainge said, “Kemba has excelled in this league for many years while consistently playing at a level among the NBA’s elite,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge.
“His expansive skillset and model of consistency will fit in seamlessly with what we’re trying to accomplish as an organization.”
On Thursday, former NBA veteran Joe Johnson was on the NR Hour Podcast, and was asked if he thought Walker’s jersey should be retired in Boston.
“I think so,” said Johnson.
“I think Toine was a different type of player at that time. He was 6’9 or 6’10 really like a point and power forward. His vision was great, he could shoot it and make plays. That is the pro-typical big nowadays like if you can’t shoot the three. You better be a lob threat, but Toine was a guy that ran pick and rolls. He was one of the first point-power forwards.”
Johnson was a 16 year veteran in the NBA and averaged 16.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game.