Charlotte Hornets

Here in Kembaville, anxiety won’t end until the NBA trade deadline passes

I no longer live in Charlotte. I live in Kembaville. There are daily Kemba Walker updates, and there should be. Kemba is by far the Charlotte Hornets’ best and most popular player.

I understand why the Hornets would entertain a trade for him. He is the lone Charlotte player other teams crave. How else do the Hornets escape the mediocrity that clings to them?

Nobody that follows the Hornets or cares about the NBA wants Kemba traded. Here’s how much I like Kemba: I’d rebound for him in the gym. And I’m about to undergo surgery on my left knee. So he wouldn’t get a lot of shots. But what I have, I’d give. That’s how he plays.

Kemba came to town the same year as Cam Newton. In April of 2011, the Carolina Panthers selected Newton with the first pick in the NFL draft. Two months later, the Hornets took Kemba with the ninth pick in the NBA draft.

Both were born in May, Newton in 1989 (he’s 28), Kemba in 1990. Newton was the best player for Auburn, college football’s best team. Kemba was the best player for Connecticut, college basketball’s best team.

Newton’s pro career got off to a quicker start than Kemba’s, and he has led the Panthers to the Super Bowl. But I would contend that after seven seasons, Kemba is at least as good at his job as Newton is at his.

That’s not a slam on Cam. I like what Newton offers. But he doesn’t offer it as consistently as Kemba does. Although basketball is a wildly different game, Kemba has less help.

The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 8 (3 p.m. if you’re keeping score). Until then, Kembaville is unlikely to shut down. It’s a sad saga, because those of us who love the sport want to save the player yet fix the team.

So, yeah, Kemba, if you need a rebounder, let me know. The more you make the better we’ll feel. I won’t have to move as far.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

More from this issue of the Tom Talks newsletter:

Related stories from Charlotte Observer