For the first time in his nine-year NBA career, Kemba Walker walked into Spectrum Center Thursday as a visiting foe.
It didn't matter much in the eyes of the Charlotte Hornets' faithful. Donned in a green and white Boston Celtics uniform, the three-time All-Star received a hero's welcome in his first game back in Charlotte since his departure via a sign-and-trade this summer.
The Hornets got things started with a video tribute highlighting some of Walker's finer moments:
Hornets fans continued showing love when the 29-year-old was announced as a member of the Celtics' starting lineup:
"I was trying to hold it in," Walker told TNT's Allie LaForce about watching the tribute reel. "I told myself I wasn't going to cry but I couldn't hold it in, man. It was an amazing video."
Perhaps caught up in the moment, Walker turned in one of his more modest statistical outings of the season. He tallied 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting, well below his scoring average of 26 points through his first six games with Boston - and the 19.8 points per game he scored for Charlotte from 2011-19 en route to becoming the franchise's all-time scoring leader.
However, Walker dished out six assists and finished plus-20 in 29 minutes of action. The Celtics took the win, 108-87, improving their record to an Eastern Conference-leading 6-1.
All in all, it appears to have been a homecoming Walker won't soon forget.
"It was an amazing night, an amazing day," Walker reflected. "A lot of love from the fans, the organization.
"Just really good to be back."