Hardwood Paroxysm’s and friend of Red’s Army Ananth Pandian caught-up with Antoine Walker aka “Employee #8” at Concepts’ Adidas “Real Deal” release on Tuesday night. AP talked with ‘Toine about Adidas bringing the shoe back, the recent success of the UK Wildcats and how he was received by fans in Boston:
So adidas brought back your shoe, the Real Deal. How do you feel about your shoe coming back into the market?
I love it because it was my favorite adidas shoe that I ever played in throughout my career. I thought it was the best looking, lightest shoe that I ever wore and also, I had my best statistical year wearing the Real Deal. (Ed Note: I believe Walker is referring to his 2000-2001 season where he averaged 23.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 5.5 apg, and shot 41% from the field) So it was real good to me and I’m happy it got re-released.
It was great to see the warm reception from the Antoine Walker fans tonight. How is it being back in Boston?
AW: It is always great to be back here. Boston is my first NBA home and I have always received so much love and respect from the fans here. It is always a humbling feeling to see the fans’ support especially now after my career is over. I mean, I got a lot of love just when I came through the airport today. Its a great feeling to know that I can come back to Boston and feel at home and comfortable especially during autograph signings like this because it makes you feel special and loved.
So the University of Kentucky basketball program has been unreal as of late. Are you just an extremely proud alumni right now with their success?
AW: Kentucky is unbelievable right now and that’s mainly because [Coach] Cal has changed the culture. Cal has done a great job of keeping everyone involved, with the alumni game and actually this month on Feb 27th he is buying the whole ‘96 team championship rings. So its going to be unbelievable to get rings with all of those guys.
Really? That’s great to hear. But what are your thoughts on the future of UK players like Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Eric Bledsoe and John Wall?
AW: I mean they are all going to be great players. A lot of them did ‘one and done’ so you gotta be patient with them but the sky is the limit with their potential. One thing that is great about Kentucky is that we are not only producing good NBA players but good character guys. It makes you proud to be a Kentucky Wildcat.