A fortnight ago, even in her wildest dreams Kemba Walker could not have imagined a Christmas day like this.
In early December, New York Knicks manager Tom Thibodeau wouldn’t call his name, but his hometown fans were singing it at Madison Square Garden on Saturday as Walker made history with his hometown team.
He became the seventh NBA player with a triple-double at Christmas, and first for the Knicks, when New York beat the sold-out Atlanta Hawks 101-87 for their first vacation win in a decade.
Previous players will register NBA triple doubles on Christmas Day
- Oscar Robertson (1960, 1961, 1963, 1967)
- John Havlicek (1967)
- Billy Cunningham (1970)
- LeBron James (2010)
- Russel Westbrook (2013)
- Green Draymond (2017)
“It was great,” Walker said. “Those are moments you dream of. It’s a little hard to put into words, to be honest.”
Walker finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. The 6-foot guard ran across the floor desperately looking for his 10th rebound for much of the second half, finally making it into the fourth period when Mitchell Robinson’s block came to him.
The former Charlotte Hornets star was the first of three players to record a triple double on Christmas Day 2021, with James Harden and Russell Westbrook both doing it in the Brooklyn Nets’ win over the Los Angeles Lakers later in the evening. . His was the first triple-doubles at Christmas since Golden State’s Draymond Green in 2017, continuing Walker’s strong stretch since moving from a nine-game out of rotation period to returning to the starting lineup when the Knicks were short of personal.
Walker returned to the field just a week ago, scoring 29 goals in the defeat to the Boston Celtics. He then scored 21 in a win against the Detroit Pistons before scoring 44 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in the defeat to the Washington Wizards on Thursday night.
He then concluded a perfect Christmas week with the triple double and the “W” on Christmas Day and Walker later admitted that he could not have foreseen that things would turn so quickly.
“That’s not how we imagined it,” he said. “I’m not complaining either.”
Fans in the sold out crowd sang “Kemba Walker! Kemba Walker!” for the New York native, who scored 44 points in the defeat to Washington on Thursday.
“As a teammate, as a brother, I’m happy for him to be able to come out and be who he is,” said Knicks forward Julius Randle. “I’m sure when he signed to come here this is kind of what he envisioned, playing the kind of basketball he’s playing now.”