Any self-respecting college basketball fan remembers UConn’s Kemba Walker’s buzzer beater shot against Pitt back in 2011, and GQ recently caught up with the man behind the uniform.
GQ asked Kemba about that amazing run four years ago, and Kemba himself can’t believe all the success he had during college. He just credits it all to being in the zone.
“I don’t know how I will ever be able to get back in that zone. It was just, I don’t know. It was unbelievable. I think I was just super confident. I have to credit my teammates cause they always kept me confident, but I worked hard too to get to that point. I felt like the best player on the court every night in college,” says Kemba.
He’s actually got the buzzer beater against Pittsburgh as his phone’s wallpaper, which motivates him every day. He says, “I see a picture of it every day. I watch that whole run all the time. I’ll go through game 1, all the way through to the National Championship game. It’s still surreal to me…”
But things changed once he got under the bright lights. As do most college-players-turned-pros, he felt the pace change as soon as he began playing in the NBA. Even in preseason he knew pro sports wasn’t like college at all and honestly wondered if he’d even be able to last alongside such a talented pool of ball players.
In typical GQ fashion, he was asked about his style, and mentions that unlike Russell Westbrook he doesn’t wear any wild patterns, nor does he have a stylist. He prefers to just dress himself and keep things simple. Kemba was an Under Armour athlete, but has been seen wearing Jordans lately, which prompted him to be asked if he’d like to be a Jordan Brand athlete. He responded, “I would love to. Maybe something nice will happen this offseason,” only to announce a partnership with Jordan Brand soon after. Aside from now being outfitted with free pairs of Jordans, he finds Michael Jordan’s advice to be pretty valuable too, especially when he’s having a bad stretch of games.
“He’ll talk to me if there’s a stretch when I’m not playing so well. I try to avoid him, but it’s not possible. I see him, and I’m like “Damn.” He’ll get me in a little office and it’s just me and him, and he’ll give me advice. But I love talking to him, because every time he talks to me, the next game I always play my best,” explains Kemba.
Check out the rest of Kemba Walker’s interview with GQ here.
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