Kemba: Free-agency decision 'came down to my happiness'
Tim Bradbury / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Kemba Walker has some fond memories of the Charlotte Hornets.

He was drafted by the club in 2011 - when its nickname was still the Bobcats - and made three All-Star appearances, including a start at the 2019 event in front of the fans who watched him blossom over eight seasons.

But Walker craved more and signed with the Boston Celtics to better position himself for a title opportunity.

"It was definitely one of the hardest decisions of my life," Walker told reporters Wednesday, including ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "Charlotte's all I've known. It came down to my happiness and wanting to compete night in and night out. ... My time was up there. I'm excited to start a new chapter."

Walker didn't advance past the first round in his two playoff trips, which followed the team's only winning seasons during his tenure. When he was a rookie, Charlotte went 7-59 during the lockout-shortened season to record the worst NBA winning percentage ever.

"They've been winning for years," Walker said of the Celtics. "You see all the banners upstairs and in the arena. It's a winning organization. I want to win. That's what I'm about throughout my basketball career.

"As a pro, I haven't won consistently and I just want to get a taste of that. I thought this was the best place for me to do that."

Walker leaves Charlotte as the leading scorer in franchise history, having averaged 19.8 points and 5.5 assists over 605 regular-season appearances. The 29-year-old averaged a career-high 25.6 points on 43.4 percent shooting en route to his first All-NBA appearance in the 2018-19 campaign.

Walker has developed into one of the top guards in the Association and he's grateful that Hornets owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan set him on that trajectory.

"I love that dude," Walker said, according to Nicole Yang of The Boston Globe. "That's my guy. We have a great relationship. I will forever love him because of the opportunity he gave me."

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Kemba: Free-agency decision 'came down to my happiness'
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