Antoine Walker in his last week with the Idaho Stampede (Getty Images)
There was a time when the Boston Celtics were as obscure, and as inconsequential, as any other NBA team. Though the current Celtics are just sixth in the Eastern Conference as of Monday, the team still seems to play on national TV every other day, and are the subject of great concern when things go terribly wrong, or exhilaratingly right. That wasn't always the case, though. And during Antoine Walker's first three NBA seasons, well, the dude might as well have been playing for the Grizzlies, or Warriors. Before the advent of League Pass, Antoine Walker was someone you had to see to believe. And by the time we got League Pass, nobody seemed ready to believe. Not with that shot selection.
Walker retired on Saturday, calling it quits following his D-League Idaho Stampede's win over the Bakersfield Jam. It was Walker's second stint with the team, and both versions saw the former NBA All-Star look decidedly out of shape. Nobody should have expected the 35-year-old to keep up with players a decade younger than him, but this turn was supposed to be rehabilitation of sorts. A run created to show that Walker's guile and smarts could aid one of the 30 NBA teams that happily employ players in their mid 30s because of their combination of production and leadership.
Instead, Walker showed up to Idaho completely out of shape. Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard detailed his fast food and sugar-cereal strewn apartment in his must-read feature on Walker's hoped-for NBA return, and Antoine's play reflected the unholy marriage of his shape and NBA stylings. He was still the same old Antoine, shooting endless 3-pointers because there were no 4-pointers to take, well over four per game despite playing only 25 minutes a contest and a terrible 20 percent mark from long range. It was every Antoine Walker stereotype, come true.
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