Samaki Walker

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Samaki Walker
Swalker.jpg
Samaki Walker
Position: Forward
Height: 6'9"
Weight: 250
Nationality: American
Born: 2/25/1976
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio
Draft: 9th overall
Drafted By: Dallas
College: Louisville
NBA Career: 1996-2006
Mavs Tenure: 1996-1999

Samaki Walker (born February 25, 1976 in Columbus, Ohio) was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 1996 NBA draft.

Walker was a two-year letterman at the University of Louisville. He averaged 13.7 points per game his freshman season and had a triple-double (14 points, 10 rebounds and 11 blocked shotes) on New Year's Day 2005 against Kentucky. The next season, he raised his scoring average to 15.1 ppg and after the season declared himself eligible for the NBA draft.

The Mavericks took Walker with the ninth overall pick of the 1996 NBA draft. The draft class was particularly deep that year with such notables as Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jermaine O'Neal and Peja Stojakovic all being selected after Walker.

In his rookie season, the 6'9 forward appeared in 43 games (12 starts) and averaged 5.0 ppg and 3.4 rpg. He was selected to play in the Schick Rookie Game as part of All-Star weekend but was forced to withdraw after suffering an ankle sprain in a game against New York.

Despite only seeing action in 41 games, he posted a career-best 8.9 points per game during his second season with the Mavs. Walker also had a career-high 20 rebounds on January 24, 1998 in a game against the Charlotte Hornets.

In his third and final season in Dallas, Walker played in 39 games and had a 5.9 ppg average. Overall for his three years with the Mavs, he saw action in 123 games averaging 6.6 ppg and 4.8 rpg in 17.9 mpg.

In 1999, he signed as a free agent with the San Antonio Spurs where he saw his court time increase significantly the next two seasons. He appeared in a career-high 71 games in 1999-2000 and 61 games the following season.

That action was enough to have the Lakers come calling and Walker signed a free agent deal with Los Angeles, where he would spend two seasons and become an important part of the L.A.'s World Championship team of 2002.

After the 2003 season, Walker began a run of seasons where he traveled from team to team. In 2003-2004 he appeared in 33 games with the Miami Heat. The next season he signed with the Washington Wizards. He played in the team's first five games and scored 12 points but tallied just 12 more the rest of the season. The next season he had a short stint with Indiana which marked the end of his NBA career.

Walker spent the next several seasons overseas playing in Russia, Syria and China.

In 2007 Walker, whose first name Samaki means "fish" in Swahili, established the Life Choices Foundation which is a non-profit organization to improve the lives of young adults and keep them away from violence in inner-city schools.