By Neto Baptiste
Former minister of sports, John Maginley, believes the time may be ideal for those in authority to approach Boston Celtics point guard, Kemba Walker, with an offer of becoming a sport’s ambassador for the country.
Walker, who is of Antiguan parentage, is an American professional basketball in the National Basketball Association (NBA) He was picked ninth overall by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2011 NBA draft.
“He is probably the most famous Antiguan basketball player and he played for Antigua and we went out and met with him, but it was outside of our pockets; he was too big. Maybe now that he is midway through his career, I don’t know if he has ambitions of playing for the US anymore, so maybe now might be a good time but at the time when he was just out of college and just getting in his pros, it was difficult. Now is the time, maybe, somebody should reach out to him,” he said.
Maginley, a former national tennis and cricket player, revealed that during his tenure as sports minister (2004-2009), the government and the basketball association approached Walker with an offer.
He added, however, that at the time, the asking price was simply out of reach.
“During Kemba’s college career we reached out to him and [the current] minister, Darylly Matthew, was the president of the basketball association and we were trying to get Kemba to play for Antigua at either the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, or one of those tournament. We had discussions with his father and with the agent and let me tell you, what the agent was asking for in terms of insurance alone, was more than the annual budget for the basketball association,” he said.
After graduating from Rice High School in 2008, Walker played college basketball for the Connecticut Huskies. In their 2010/11 season, Walker was the nation’s second-leading scorer and was named consensus first-team All-American. He also led the Huskies to the 2011 NCAA championship and claimed the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. Walker is a four-time NBA All-Star.