The Boston Celtics were essentially a star-less franchise for a handful of seasons after Larry Bird retired in 1992. Antoine Walker changed that trend quickly when the franchise drafted him sixth overall during the 1996 NBA Draft.
Walker burst onto the national scene as a sophomore at Kentucky in 1995-96. He averaged 15.2 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game that season as a starting forward on the Wildcats’ national championship team. Walker’s strong play that season garnered All-SEC First Team and All-NCAA Regional Team selections.
Walker chose to enter the star-studded 1996 NBA Draft after his two seasons at Kentucky. He joined players such as Allen Iverson, Marcus Camby, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash in the 1996 Draft. Walker would go on to battle with those players as an NBA star for the majority of his career.
The Celtics were in a rebuilding stage when Walker came aboard, which allowed him to take the reigns as the team’s featured offensive player. He immediately became a double-double threat, as he logged strong scoring and rebounding numbers in his first nine NBA seasons.