NBA

Kemba Walker Released a Mixtape Before His Rookie Year — but He Didn’t Rap on It

It has been nearly a decade since Kemba Walker entered the NBA, in case basketball fans wanted to feel old.

Now with the Boston Celtics, Walker has had himself a fine career. Walker and Celtics teammate Jayson Tatum are still chasing an NBA Finals appearance, which is next on Walker’s to-do list.

Walker has long been a popular face around the NBA with a sizable fanbase. Even his biggest fans, though, may not remember that Walker released a mixtape just before the Charlotte Bobcats drafted him.

Kemba Walker is the Boston Celtics’ star point guard

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The ninth overall pick in 2011, Kemba Walker has more than lived up to the expectations that come with a top-10 pick.

Through his first nine seasons, Walker averaged 19.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.3 steals per night in 661 games and 616 starts with Charlotte and Boston. The four-time All-Star made 41.9% of his shots and 36% from three-point range.

In 28 career playoff games, Walker has averaged 20.4 points on 42% shooting — and an acceptable 33.7% from behind the arc. Walker added 3.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.1 steals in those games.

Walker joined the Boston Celtics last year and shined in his new home. That is good news for the Celtics, who signed Walker to a four-year, $141 million max contract in July 2019.

The then-Charlotte Bobcats drafted Walker in 2011

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Although he nearly slipped out of the top-10, Kemba Walker entered the NBA with high expectations and a lofty fanbase.

Walker starred at the University of Connecticut and led the Huskies to a national championship in April 2011. In the pre-ACC days, UConn’s men’s basketball team was a college basketball powerhouse and had a reputation for players succeeding in the NBA.

The then-Charlotte Bobcats used the ninth overall pick on Walker in 2011. In 66 games and 25 starts, Walker averaged 12.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 0.9 steals per night.

Charlotte only played 66 games that season because of the lockout. The Bobcats famously went 7-59 in Walker’s rookie year, welcoming him to the NBA with one of the worst campaigns in league history.

Although the now-Charlotte Hornets retroactively share history with the former Hornets team — one that is now the New Orleans Pelicans — it is clear that Walker is the best player in modern franchise history. Charlotte returned to the NBA in 2004.

According to Basketball-Reference, Walker totaled 48.5 Win Shares in his eight seasons with the Bobcats/Hornets franchise. Walker holds sole possession of first place and is well above Gerald Wallace, who ended his time in Charlotte with 45.9 Win Shares.

Kemba Walker released a mixtape before his rookie season

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Everyone wanted a piece of Kemba Walker, the national champion and UConn hero, when he entered the league in 2011.

Walker and DJ Skee, a California-based DJ and producer, teamed up for a mixtape in June 2011. The project, titled “The E-Z Pass,” came out days before the 2011 NBA draft.

Unlike other basketball players who have put out musical projects, “The E-Z Pass,” which is still available on Datpiff.com, did not feature Walker rapping or singing. Instead, the mixtape included songs that Walker listened to for motivational reasons or that he simply enjoyed at the time.

“The E-Z Pass” included songs by popular rappers such as 50 Cent, Drake Nas, Rick Ross, and Snoop Dogg. Walker appeared on two tracks, an intro and an outro, on the 23-song project. 

All stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.