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Part Two of Greg Dickerson's two-part interview with Antoine Walker
A thirteen-year career, 17.5 points-per-game average and three NBA All-Star appearances wiped clean. Though a fresh start is what Walker seeks, it comes at the very bottom of what could be a long uphill climb. He's living in a two-bedroom apartment in Boise, Idaho, as a member of the NBDL's Stampede.
It looks and feels like a fresh start to Walker, but may only be nominal in the minds of NBA executives.
"For whatever reason with the negative publicity that's been behind me -- what's gone on off the court -- if that's the reason why I'm not playing in the NBA, I think that's unjust," Walker, 34, told CSNNE's Greg Dickerson.
That negative publicity largely stems from felony bad check charges he faced last year for allegedly failing to repay nearly 1 million in gambling debts and penalties to Las Vegas casinos. Mismanaged real-estate investments have also soured. But those issues are away from the court.
Walker is now working to prove he deserves another shot at the NBA. By playing for the Stampede, an NBDL team typically reserved for fringe players in their youth, he hopes to catch the eye of an NBA team in need of his services.
"It'd mean the world for me right now to get back, because it's what I love to do," said Walker. "I think I still have a lot of basketball left to play. I think I can still be competitive. I think, if I get with the right team, I can still win championships. It's just that I left the game not on my own merit . . .
"If a GM says to my face, 'Antoine, you can't play at this level anymore,' then it's time to do something else. But until I'm told that, I'm going to continue to try to fight and get there. But I'm not going to chase it; if it's not there, it's not there. But I'm going to work and give myself every opportunity to get back."
Filled with regret with how he left the NBA, Walker is hopeful a team will call on him this season or next.
For now, this given player can be found -- in Boise, Idaho.