Day 8: Kemba

Today is Day 8 of the Omer. Hesed sheb’gevurah. Love emanating from strength.  

Kemba Walker is a special person. It’s hard to find someone who has something bad to say about him. For this project, I’ve generally given weight to how long a player has worn a particular jersey number, but even though this is the first year that Kemba has worn #8, he’s too perfect a fit to ignore on this 8th day of the omer, hesed sheb’gevurah. 

After two years with the mercurial Kyrie Irving at the helm, the Boston Celtics were emotionally drained. Kemba’s unselfishness, humility, and positive personality, transformed the energy around the team. He gave out love freely, embodying hesed,  and creating space for his teammates to shine. But behind that big smile was a disciplined, hard-working, warrior always striving to get better.  

Although listed at 6’ tall, the 4x All-star seems a shade shorter. When you’re that short and that slight, you don’t make it in the NBA without some serious inner strength. Kemba lead UCONN on one of the all-time great runs in NCAA history, leading his team to 5 wins in 5 games in the Big East Tournament before winning six straight to win the NCAA Championship. 

Despite being a lottery pick following his college success, Kembra struggled in the NBA. His team did too, winning only 7 games in the strike-shortened 2011-12 season. It might be surprising to pick such a small player during the week of gevurah, but Kemba’s hard work and discipline fully embody this sefirah.

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