By Kallan Louis
January 1, 2017
The Charlotte Hornets finished 2016 with a loss on New Year’s Eve against the Cleveland Cavaliers 121-109 and are now 0-3 against LeBron and the Cavs this season. However, there was a bright spot. Kemba Walker had a game-high 37 points along with five assists and five rebounds. He continues to perform at a high level which is why he deserves to be named a 2017 NBA All-Star (vote today).
This game would have been the perfect opportunity for Walker to continue to make his case for his first all-star appearance in a match up with three-time all-star and 2014 NBA All-Star Game MVP Kyrie Irving; however Irving sat this one out with a sore hamstring. Even without Irving, the Cavs had an offensive explosion, particularly from behind the arc going 14 for 31, hitting 12 of them in the first half. LeBron James and Kevin Love combined for 60 points. James scored 17 of his 32 points in the first quarter and Love finished 28. Kyrie’s replacement, Jordan McRae added 20.
Nevertheless, Walker seemed to score at will against anyone on the court. His quickness caused problems, and his aggressiveness going to the paint got him to the free throw line, where he was a perfect eight for eight. Walker also added three shots from beyond the arc.
Charlotte took a huge hit by losing the 2017 NBA All-Star Game but that doesn’t mean Buzz City can’t make its presence felt. In late December, the Hornets launched the series, Walker, Charlotte Ranger. It’s a campaign asking fans to vote Kemba into this year’s game. The series is a comedic take on the 90’s action-drama Walker, Texas Ranger, starring Chuck Norris. Dressed identically to the fictional crime-fighting character, Kemba plays the role of Charlotte Ranger, protecting the Queen City at an all-star level. The series also features Frank Kaminsky as his deputy and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as a security officer.
Watch episode 1 and 2 of Walker, Charlotte Ranger
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) December 26, 2016
EPISODE II: WALKER, CHARLOTTE RANGER ?
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) December 30, 2016
Walker is averaging a career-high in points this year, a shade under 23 per game and has the Hornets first in the division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. He recently became the fourth player (and the youngest) in franchise history to score 7,000 points.
Voting for 2017 NBA All-Star Game got underway on Christmas and runs until January 16. There are several ways to cast your votes (NBA.com, the NBA App, Twitter, Facebook and Google Search). Fans can also vote a limited amount of times daily.
For the first time, the NBA unveiled a new voting process. Fans will account for 50 percent of the vote, while all current players and a panel of basketball media will each account for 25 percent.
This should help Walker but, as well as he has played this season, it may not be enough for him to make the roster if the fans don’t vote him in. Last season, some critics felt Walker should have been selected as a reserve for the 2016 All-Star Game but ultimately, the last guard spot went to Boston’s Isiah Thomas. Walker is competing against names like the aforementioned, Kyrie Irving and Isiah Thomas, who are both having great seasons, and other past all-star guards like Kyle Lowry, Dwyane Wade, John Wall. Only four guards will make the all-star roster per team.
The Charlotte franchise has not had a player in the NBA All-Star Game since Gerald Wallace in 2010 but he was picked as a reserve by the coaches. Baron Davis made an appearance in 2002 but he replaced Vince Carter, who was injured. Back in 2000, Eddie Jones was the last Charlotte player voted into the game by the fans.
North Carolina has had some voting controversies in 2016 but this is an easy topic I think we can all agree on. Let’s get Kemba Walker to the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans.
Vote today! (Voting ends on January 16, 2017)
How to vote through social media:
Twitter: Tweet, retweet or reply with an NBA player’s first and last name or Twitter handle, along with the hashtag #NBAVOTE. Each Tweet may include only one player’s name or handle. Fans may vote for 10 unique players each day throughout the NBA All-Star voting period.
Facebook: Post the player’s first and last name along with the hashtag #NBAVOTE on your personal Facebook account, or comment on another’s Facebook post. Each post may include only one player’s name. Fans may post votes for 10 unique players per day throughout the voting period.
More photos from Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Charlotte Hornets