Kemba Walker understands the role he plays with the Boston Celtics.
In addition to what he brings to the table as an All-Star point guard, his presence on the court and in the locker also is one that builds up those around him.
It’s a responsibility that’s been especially important this year as he takes a back seat to compliment the games of Boston’s two promising young wings, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who both are on the verge of superstardom.
And as the Celtics have struggled early, he knows building that on-court chemistry is crucial as ever, as young players get more and more opportunity while others sit out from injury and Walker works back from a minutes restriction.
In particular, he’s taken an interest in Tremont Waters, whom he cheered on from the sidelines as the second-year guard recorded three points, five assists, two rebounds and two steals without a turnover in just over 23 minutes played.
“That’s my little brother,” Walker said of Waters on Friday in his pregame media availability. “We spend a lot of time together, we always talk, text back and forth whenever we’re not physically with each other.”
The two players have some things in common, as skilled but undersized guards in Boston’s backcourt.
From New Haven, Conn., Waters even would go to watch Walker play during his college days at the University of Connecticut.
“He loves the game, he wants to be a great player,” Walker said of Waters. “That’s what I’m here for, I’ve been around for a long time and he’s a guy who, he looks up to me. And I’m just trying to be here for my little bro, that’s all. Sometimes he can get down on himself, so I try to give encouragement to him as well as all my other teammates. These guys depend on me to bring a certain energy and a certain positive attitude so as much as I can, I got to be that kind of guy every day. Not only (Tremont) — but I do have a lot of respect for (Tremont). Love his game, love the player he is and the player he’s going to become. He works hard and I just want to be there for him as best as I can.”
Say what you want about Walker, but there’s no denying he’s a world class teammate.