Boston Celtics reporters pay homage to Kemba Walker after he announces retirement

Kemba Walker announced his retirement from the NBA on July 2
Kemba Walker announced his retirement from the NBA on July 2 / Steven Ryan/GettyImages

Kemba Walker called it a career on July 2 and several Boston Celtics reporters were quick to tribute the New York native for his brief but impactful two years with the franchise during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

"Kemba’s Boston tenure wasn’t long, but he helped put the Celtics back on the right trajectory after the dysfunction of 2018-19," The Athletic's Jay King wrote. "He came along with the perfect energy to let everyone leave that mess in the past. As a star, he was more than willing to let others flourish. Salute to him on a heck of a career."

"Not sure the Celtics collect themselves as quickly as they did in the post-Kyrie dust storm without the way Kemba embraced the younger players," NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg prefaced before saying, "His trade got Al back here. Kemba was close with Mazzulla. Dont know if he’d ever want to coach, but his positivity would lift anyone."

Kemba Walker a forgotten part of Boston Celtics' evolution at point guard

Walker was on the team for one good year (2019-20) and one bad year (2020-21) in Boston's recent history. The Celtics were close to a championship in 2020 but fell to the Miami Heat in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals from the Disney World bubble during the COVID-19 pandemic. They weren't close to winning anything in 2021 with the arenas empty at worst and half full at best.

Ultimately, with Kyrie Irving having such a profoundly negative impact on the team's 2019 playoff run, Marcus Smart taking over the position leading to a Finals appearance in 2022, and finally Jrue Holiday's (and Derrick White's) arrival helping bring Banner 18 home, many will forget the two-year period Walker was the team's starting floor general.

But true Celtics fans know Walker was the perfect personality to walk through the doors at the TD Garden after Irving was so domineering in 2019.

Thank you for the memories, Kemba. The NBA will forever remember your step-backs and your smile.