Kemba Walker’s inner-city flair and heart of a champion should take the Bobcats and Under Armour to new heights.
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Originally published in KICKS 14
words Ben Osborne / portraits Atiba Jefferson
“Quien es? Quien es?”
Standing on the platform of the 161 Street-Yankee Stadium stop, a 60ish Latin woman wants to know who the young man posing for pictures is. “Kemba Walker,” I reply. “Estrella del baloncesto,” I force out in halting Spanish. “De Bronx.” A basketball star. From the Bronx.
Trust this, though: Over the course of a scorching-hot July day spent traversing Bronx and Harlem—areas the 21-year-old Walker knows well—it becomes clear that to most New Yorkers, Kemba needs no introduction.
Blessed with a quick smile and approachable manner he honed during his three-year career at UConn, playing for arguably the nation’s most rabid fan base, Walker possesses a winning personality that has businesses investing heavily in him and hoping for a big pay off.
Basketball-wise, King Kemba is now the property of the Charlotte Bobcats, famously owned by Michael Jordan and in desperate need of a spark that can generate both excitement and wins in a city that hasn’t shown much interest in its team lately. Off the court, and more germane to our day, Under Armour has signed Walker to a multi-year endorsement deal, hoping his skills and persona can further build up the brand’s growing reputation in basketball.