- Antoine Walker
- Hometown (Last School)
- Chicago, IL (Mount Carmel)
- 1994-95, 1995-96
- August 12, 1976
Antoine Walker was born Antoine Devon Walker on August 12, 1976, in Chicago, Illinois to Diane Walker and Dennis Seats. He grew up on Chicago’s south side and had five siblings.
Walker, a three-time NBA All-Star, won an NCAA championship with Kentucky in 1996 and an NBA championship with the Heat in 2006.
Walker attended Mount Carmel High School in Chicago, where he played alongside future NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb. He averaged 23 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 assists per game as a junior. As a senior, he averaged 30 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals per game. He once scored 43 points to go along with 32 rebounds in one game. He scored more than 2,000 points to become Mount Carmel’s all-time leading scorer. Walker was ranked among the nation’s top 10 high school seniors by every recruiting analyst. He was a McDonald’s All-American and Parade All-American in his senior year. He scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds in the McDonald’s All-American game.
On April 13, 1994, Walker signed a national letter of intent to play for Kentucky. Coach Rick Pitino said of Walker, “Antoine is a special freshman. He has great, great, great potential. I love the way he plays. He’s unselfish. He has Magic Johnson-type passing ability. Antoine is going to have a great career here.”
At Kentucky, Walker was a two-year starter for the Wildcats. He helped lead the team to the 1996 NCAA championship game, where they defeated Syracuse. Walker was named the SEC Tournament MVP in 1995 and 1996, and he was also named to the All-SEC First Team and the All-NCAA Regional Teams in both seasons.
Walker, in his first blue-white scrimmage at Kentucky, showed why he was one of the nation’s top recruits. He had a team-high 33 points, hit 13 of 21 shots, pulled off eight rebounds, and dished out six assists with a variety of passes. He finished his freshman campaign averaging 8 points and 5 rebounds per game. He scored 21 points against Florida in the SEC Tournament semifinals and followed that effort with 23 points against Arkansas in the championship game. For the tournament, he was awarded the MVP trophy.
Walker had a fantastic summer before his sophomore year, finishing as the leading scorer and rebounder at the U. S. Olympic Festival in Denver, Colorado., averaging 20.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game to all-tournament team recognition. He also played well in Italy, finishing as the team’s second-leading scorer averaging 20.8 points and 7.8 rebounds. In the team’s opening win over Cagiva Varese, the Chicago native scored a game-high 31 points.
As a sophomore at Kentucky, Walker led UK in rebounding (8.4 per game) and was second in scoring (15.2). He also averaged 2.9 assists per game. He’s the only Wildcat to start every game that season. Walker was named All-SEC First Team, All-SEC Tournament, and to the All-NCAA Midwest Regional Team. Walker had fourteen points, four assists and four steals in the NCAA Tournament Final Four win over Massachusetts. He teamed with Walter McCarty in a fine defensive job on Marcus Camby. Against Syracuse, in the NCAA Tournament title game, he played 32 minutes and scored eleven points. He snagged 9 rebounds, dished 4 assists, and had 4 steals.
On May 6, 1996, Walker held a news conference to announce that he was leaving UK early for the NBA. He said that he needed to do something financially for his family, especially for his mother, Diane, who has worked hard to raise her family in Chicago.
Walker was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the sixth overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft. He quickly became a star in the league, averaging 17.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in his rookie season. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team, and he also made his first All-Star Game appearance. Walker played in the NBA from 1996 to 2008. Walker played for the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, the BSN’s Mets de Guaynabo and the NBA D-League’s Idaho Stampede before retiring from basketball in 2012.
Walker averaged 20.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in 2000-01, and he was named to the NBA All-Star Game for the second time. However, the Celtics struggled to win in the playoffs, and they were eliminated in the first round in each of Walker’s first four seasons in the league.
In 2001, the Celtics traded Walker to the Dallas Mavericks. He played two seasons with the Mavericks, but he was traded again in 2003 to the Atlanta Hawks. Walker played two seasons with the Hawks before being traded to the Miami Heat in 2005.
With the Heat, Walker finally won an NBA championship in 2006. He was a key contributor to the Heat’s championship run, averaging 14.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in the playoffs.
Walker played two more seasons with the Heat before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2008. He retired from basketball in 2012 after playing one season with the Mets de Guaynabo of the BSN and one season with the Idaho Stampede of the NBA D-League.
Antoine Walker is a talented basketball player who had a successful career in the NBA. He is also a survivor, having overcome financial adversity and personal struggles. He is an inspiration to many, and he is a reminder that it is never too late to turn things around.