Sports Illustrated Story on Antoine Walker

Fantastic read today on Sports Illustrated's website. Chris Ballard spent some time with former Celtics star Antoine Walker at his new job.

Walker is playing for the Idaho Stampede of the NBA's Developmental League. The three time All-Star is one of two players to ever win an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship, and earn more than $90 million as a pro. The other is Michael Jordan.

Boston chose Antoine with the 6th pick in the 1996 draft and he played in green till 2003. He returned for a brief stint in '05, before being sent to the Miami Heat where he won his ring with Dwayne Wade and Shaq in '06. In 2008 he was waived by the Memphis Grizzlies, that was his last time stepping on an NBA court. After playing in Puerto Rico for a short period, he signed with the Stampede last year. He is averaging 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists in 25 minutes a game.

Antoine declared bankruptcy in 2010 and reportedly owes around $770,000 in debt. He is making $25,000 playing in the NBDL.

I travelled with some buddies up to Portland, ME to see 'Toine play against the Maine Red Claws. It was a mixture of emotions to see him chug up and down the court. Yes we heckled a bit, calling for a shimmy or two. However we also were able to reminisce about those fun times like in the '02 conference finals against New Jersey. Very depressing to read this quote from Ballard's story:

"watching the teams he used to play against. He especially likes watching his old buddy with the Celtics, Paul Pierce, who is only a year younger than him. "I'm happy for him," Walker says of Pierce, with whom he has lost touch. (Asked to discuss Walker for this story, Pierce declines, saying through a Celtics spokesman that he "would rather not go back in time.")"

As a kid I always thought of Paul and Antoine as best friends. However, as this story tells us, a lot of the NBA that we see on TV isn't reality.