The Spurs' 2018 first-round NBA draft pick, Lonnie Walker, made his way to his new home in San Antonio earlier this week.
Coming from Reading, Pennsylvania, Walker said San Antonio is like no other.
“The community kind of really welcomed me pretty quickly,” Walker said. “The love and care that they have for you is like no other community.”
KSAT sports' Larry Ramirez sat down with Walker one-on-one on Thursday to find out more about the new Spur.
Q: Walk me through that moment of hearing your name, for you and your family, and going on stage.
A: “It was like a dream come true. All the stress and all my past events, it all kind of just disappeared. All that weight that was on my back disappeared. Walking on stage, wearing the hat and being a walking meme was also another thing and just knowing that I'm a Spur is truly an honor, not anyone can be a Spur, the fact that I got picked to be one it's prestige. That's big time. That's a humbling moment for myself.”
Q: What was life like growing up for you in Reading, Pennsylvania?
A: “Growing up, it was kind of hard, you have a left path or a right path, left path as in drugs, gangs, violence, right path as in continue to thrive as an individual, and continue to succeed and get education so, a lot of my friends went left, and I saw their mistakes and I learned from it. My path was right, I was amongst a group of limited friends but it was all about the future, you know my dad used to make me read and write hour after hour after school and probably clean up the house, then I'd probably have an hour to go outside. I was a sheltered kid and he took good care of me, but that's what motivated me to say the word bigger than basketball and show and prove to the world that no matter where you come from you can still be something.”
Q: Expand on the comment you made about not having to share a burger with your family anymore.
A: “That was the best feeling in the world. Being drafted, being selected - yes that was a great feeling - but seeing that beautiful smile on my moms face, my grandmas face that was all I needed. Day in and day out, my mom has sacrificed so much for me to survive. There were moments that we probably wouldn't eat 2-3 days, or we wouldn't have hot water, and we would have to get cold water and put it inside a microwave to produce hot water. It was survival by the fittest growing up, it wasn't always laughs and giggles and flowers. It was about how strong and still-willed you are. The fact that she don't got to worry about that no more, she's stress-free, she’s taken care of we're not worried about where we're gonna stay, we're not worried about what's next the next day. You can wake up, breathe, smell the fresh air, and be as relaxed as possible.”
Q: What's your experience with Pop been like?
A: “It's been amazing, it was kind of ironic, that's why I tell people everyday this was Gods choice. People were surprised that I slipped up out of the lottery pick and I'm not surprised at all. I'm not unhappy, I'm not mad about it because now I'm in a situation where it's the perfect fit. I have a guy like Coach Pop who has such a legacy and a name for himself where I know that I'm gonna be the best player I can be. And I know that I'm going to produce and be something special. And the fact that he has the same intentions and perspective in life just as me, its a bit ironic. And honestly, I've been praying day-in and day-out thanking God day-in and day-out just for putting me in such a situation where I can be myself and enjoy this NBA lifestyle.”
Q: Do you have a message to San Antonio and the fans?
A: “San Antonio, I just hope that you continue to embrace me and let me thrive and let me become the best individual I can be.”
Fans will be able to see Walker in action during the Utah Jazz Summer League on June 2-5.