REINCARNATION OF KENYA WALKER - CUT FROM NATIONAL BASKETBALL SQUAD TO HIGHER HEIGHTSMonday 11th April 2011
Paul 'Kenya' Walker
It was the year of Independence 1981, “the training squad was asked to line up across the free throw lane, Villa basketball court, for the final selection for the First Caricom Basketball Championships to be held in Guyana,” is how Carl "Bollie" Knight remembers.
“The Coach was Elijah Armstrong and the first name he called was Paul "Kenya" Walker. Kenya was so jubilant that he shouted out “YeeeeH”. What Paul Kenya Walker did not realize was that his name was call as part of the cut list of players,” Knight recounts.
But that was the turning point for Paul "Kenya" Walker, to later become the father of perhaps the Most Outstanding USA Division 1 NCAA Collegiate Basketball Player of 2011. “I recall him saying afterward, me done with this. Antigua na hab noten fa me”, reports his long time teammate of Ovals Ojays, Everette "Ovals" Harris.
According to Harris, it was just after that time, he and Kenya stopped playing ABBA ball and their club, Ovals Ojays, which was formed in 1977 became defunct after 1981 and Kenya's migration to the USA.
Kenya Walker played for Ovals Ojays alongside his brother Harold (Mazambi)
Walker who was the captain and the late Noel Nya Roberts.
In a recent article in the New York Post, Kenya Walker said, “Only in the next life do we receive what we deserve for real.”
Kenya is a carpenter by profession and his wife, a health care-worker, is the sister of one of Antigua's football all time prolific strikers, Anthony “Gantone” Nesbitt of the Grays-Green Community.
According to “The Hour” an online Newsletter, “perhaps the biggest key to Kemba Walker's success is his parents.” The Walkers provided Kemba and his siblings growing up with the fundamental philosophy of life. It's all about helping others. “The more you give is the more you receive,”says Paul Walker.
It was because of their belief in helping others that Kemba‟s parents met. Paul lived next to Andrea's mother in Antigua and would always help his neighbor with her garden and carry her groceries and do any other chores that needed to be done.
Andrea, who was raised in the Bronx, met her future husband while visiting her mother in Antigua. When it came to helping others, she was cut from the same cloth as Paul.
When it comes to helping others, it's a trait that Kemba developed from his parents. If any of his friends came to school with no lunch, he would give them the money to buy something to eat. If they needed school supplies, he would buy it for them. If he saw a homeless person on the street, he would help them. His gifts aren't all monetary, either. Paul tells the story of
how after UConn‟s win over Louisville in the Big East Championship Game at Madison Square Garden, a young fan asked Kemba for a sneaker as a souvenir, which he gladly obliged.
It's just the way he was brought up. And it probably explains why throughout his remarkable run with the Huskies, this postseason, Kemba Walker, the biggest story to come out of "March Madness" in 2011,
has continued to be humble.
Kemba Walker once visited Antigua five to six years ago, to meet his two grandmothers. One is in her 90's.
According to Wayne (Doc) Harris, a former National Basketball guard, “if the Government is really interested in Sports Tourism, this would be a good time to bring down the UConn Huskies to Jolly Beach, as a victory Prize."
Director of Sports Tours Int'l, Lee Frederick, shared similar sentiments, “Antigua has the chance to boost basketball interest and tourism by having Kemba Walker down to put on a clinic.” Frederick has been urging the Antigua Government, over the years, to build an indoor basketball arena to attract top basketball teams.
1990's National Women’s Football Team with veteran Coaches Winston (Pin) Hewlette (R) and George Henry (L). Both Hewlett and Henry were two of Antigua’s Most Outstanding Footballers in the 1960’s—1980’s. Both men played for the Jets Football Club.
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