Throughout his career, Kemba Walker has always played with a chip on his shoulder as he's been determined to prove many people wrong.
When he was drafted with the number nine pick by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2011 draft, there were doubts about whether he could become an elite NBA point guard.
There were also some critics who questioned the team's decision to give him a four-year, $48 million contract extension in 2015.
Seven years after coming into the league, Walker has established himself as one of the best point guards in the NBA and become a two-time All-Star.
In Charlotte's encounter with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, he secured arguably his biggest accomplishment to date as he created franchise history.
With a reverse layup in the final 20 seconds of the game, the 27-year-old became the Hornets' all-time leading scorer. He passed the previous leader Dell Curry with 9,841 points.
"It's super special because of all of the doubt I've gotten throughout my career and all of the criticism, but I just continue to prove them wrong," Walker said, per ESPN.
Unfortunately for Kemba, the record-breaking display came in a losing effort as they were beaten 118-105 by the Cavs on the night.
Despite his disappointment at not being able to win the game, the New York native was still able to let his achievement sink in and couldn't help but get emotional.
“From where I started, I don’t think anybody would have thought I’d be this franchise’s all-time leading scorer,” he said, per the Charlotte Observer.
“I’m from a rough place in the Bronx. Not a lot of people make it this far (from there), especially as a professional athlete. My city loves me to death, and I love where I’m from.”
He grew up in the Big Apple but he has found a new home in Charlotte and he was happy to give something back to the fans that have supported him since the day he arrived.
“I wanted this for the people who have seen me grow as a basketball player,” Walker said. “I wouldn’t have gotten that same ovation in Washington (where the Hornets next play Saturday). I wanted them to be the ones.”
Of the many tributes that the former UCONN product received, the most significant one came from LeBron James, who embraced him after the contest.
“He just told me congratulations, and it’s a huge accomplishment," he said. "He’s the best player in the world; coming from him, that means a lot!”
Milestones like this make it even more strange to know that the Hornets were open to trading Walker at last month's trade deadline.
With the guard eligible to hit free agency for the first time in his career in 2019, the organisation's only focus should be on tying him down to a long-term deal and keeping him as the cornerstone of the team as he enters his prime.
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