Basketball: NBA legend Kemba Walker signs for Monaco

Kemba Walker for the Charlotte Hornets

AS Monaco Basketball have pulled off the signing of the summer, bringing NBA legend Kemba Walker to the Principality on a one-year deal. 

A four-time NBA all-star, the highest scorer in the history of the Charlotte Hornets, and with  starts in the most prestigious league in the world, Walker will arguably become the most high-profile basketballer to ever grace the French game.

Alongside Mike James, Jordan Loyd and Élie Okobo, the signing of Walker means that the Roca Team now possess the most frightening backline in the Euroleague. Monaco somewhat overperformed in getting to the Euroleague Final Four last season, and it is increasingly clear that they will be gunning for the title this time around.

“I want to help build something”

33-year-old Walker is a stunning addition to the team, although there are doubts over his fitness. The American was limited to just nine games with the Dallas Mavericks last season due to knee issues. A fit and firing Walker would spell danger for Monaco’s rivals, whilst the player’s mere arrival raises the profile of the club globally, and his presence is certain to ensure sell-out crowds at the Salle Gaston Médecin year-long.

Speaking to the club’s official channels, Walker said that Monaco’s “belief” in him was a major factor in trading the NBA for the Euroleague.

“The club were really interested in me. I just wanted to be part of a club that wanted me, that believed in me. I could see that the management thought that I could help them reach another level. That convinced me to join Monaco,” he said. “I want to help build something.”

Walker is joining a blossoming project in the Principality; it was not so long ago that the Roca Team were toiling in France’s lower divisions.

A future return to the NBA?

Whilst Walker has only just left the USA, there is understandable curiosity surrounding his long-term future. For now, however, the American is focusing on his objectives in Monaco before committing to a future return to the NBA.

“I’m not sure [about a return to the NBA]. The NBA is the main objective, but I have played there for many years. For now, I’m fully focused on my new adventure,” he said.

Perhaps Walker is in Monaco for a good time, not for a long time. It is still too early to tell, but he is looking forward to the start of the season and all that that may bring.

“We’re going to have good times. I can’t wait for it to get started,” concluded the Roca Team’s star signing.


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Photo credit: Keith Allison