Kemba Walker answered media questions after the NBA All-Star Game. The Celtics’ guard talked about matching up with his teammate in Boston Jayson Tatum and more.
Q. Kemba, just given the road it took to get to this point in your career, what did it mean to go out there and have the game you had tonight?
KEMBA WALKER: It was fun. We just wanted to be competitive. That’s all we spoke about in the huddles. It’s always a blessing and an honor to get here. I’ve come a long way in my career. This is my fourth All-Star. I’m blessed, and it’s always an exciting time to get a chance to be a part of this.
Q. Can you talk the behind-the-back to Embiid who went with the windmill. Did you think that was what he was going to do?
KEMBA WALKER: I had no idea. He was open. I just wanted to give him the ball, and he made a spectacular play.
Q. This All-Star Game played with a very different format than what we’ve seen in the past. I just want to get your general thoughts, both of you, on this format. Would you like to see this type of format going forward?
KEMBA WALKER: Yeah, I thought it was cool. I had no idea coming into the game, I didn’t know what to expect. As we played, it was great. That’s what everybody wants to see. They want to see a competitive game. That’s what it was in the fourth. Hopefully, we can keep it going.
Q. Kemba, just curious, you and Jayson had talked for two weeks about potentially matching up for a possession during this game. What was it like when it actually happened, and what did you say to him after you got the stop?
KEMBA WALKER: I locked him up, like I told him. It’s cool, man. That’s my little brother. He’s been having a hell of a season. He deserves to be here. And it was cool for me to get a chance to go up to him. I’m super proud of him. It was a great moment for both of us.
Q. If you’re comfortable sharing, LeBron James had said that you can kind of feel Kobe’s presence here through all the pregame and the ceremony as well. What did this game day feel like for you, especially with that type of compete that you would see in Kobe Bryant?
KEMBA WALKER: I agree with him. I definitely do. We definitely felt his presence. Growing up, watching Kobe in those games, I felt like he was always competitive, and he was kind of the one who got the game going. I think we kept that going tonight. I think he definitely would have loved to watch the way we went out there and competed tonight.
Over the years, the All-Star Game has been a game where it just hasn’t been as competitive as probably the fans would like, but tonight it definitely was, and we got to keep that going.
Q. You played what essentially was an entire fourth quarter at the end there. Is that something that you expected coming into a game like this? And what was it like in that moment?
KEMBA WALKER: No, I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was actually supposed to be on a minute restriction, but the game got too close. I wanted to be out there. I wanted to compete. I knew down the stretch that it would get serious like that, and I wanted to be a part of it.
So, yeah, it was cool.