Daniels remembers Walker as 'a good mentor'

Daniels remembers Walker as 'a good mentor'
April 9, 2012, 4:23 am
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BOSTON Antoine Walker's playing career is over now, which is somewhat surprising when you consider the 35-year-old Walker is less than a year older than Celtics Captain Paul Pierce.

There's no way to ignore the fact that Walker, who recently announced his retirement, has made his share of mistakes both on and off the court.

But during his 12 NBA seasons (seven with the Celtics), Walker did make an impact - a positive impact - on a number of players.

Current Celtic Marquis Daniels is one of them.

The two first got to know each other when both played for the Dallas Mavericks during the 2003-2004 season.

Daniels was an undrafted rookie out of Auburn while Walker was the veteran that took Daniels under his wing.

"Antoine, he was a good mentor for me," Daniels told CSNNE.com. "He showed me a lot of things, being a point-forward too, that really helped me adjust to the NBA, like moving the ball, getting the team in the offense, just preparing for games. He showed me a lot of the stuff that coming in to the league as a rookie, you would need to know."

And while there are many who now frown upon how badly things have gone for Walker in both his personal and professional life, Daniels isn't one of them.

He has nothing but positive memories of Walker as a teammate.

"Antoine is the type of guy that would give you the shirt off his back," Daniels said. "He's a great guy. People only see the bad. They don't see all the good that he did. He did a lot of great things when I was around him, like charity events in Dallas."

Unfortunately, few recall that side of Walker when his name comes up on conversation.

"One bad thing seems to out-weigh a million good things," Daniels said. "But in my book, he's a great guy."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers didn't spend much time with Walker, having coached him for just half a season in 2005.

Still, he was around him long enough to develop a soft spot for how quickly things in his life went south.

"When any of that stuff happens to any athlete," Rivers said, "it doesn't even have to be basketball, it always tugs at your heart in my opinion, because they've worked so hard to get ahead and then when things don't go right for them, it really does. It bothers you."

Walker averaged 17.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in his 12 NBA seasons which included two separate stints (1996-2003, 2005) with the Celtics who drafted him with the sixth overall pick out of Kentucky in 1996. A three-time All-Star (all with the Celtics), Walker also played for Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, and Minnesota.

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