Name: Lonnie Walker IV
Pick: No. 18 Overall, San Antonio Spurs
Stats: 11.5 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 41.5 FG%
He comes from humble beginnings
To know Walker’s story, you first must get acquainted with where he grew up. He proudly reps his hometown of Reading, Pa., a place where 37 percent of the population lived below the federal poverty line in 2016.
“I felt like if you’re from Reading or you’re from some other spot like that, it definitely raises you a lot differently just on how to approach life,” Walker told ESPN’s The Undefeated. “And I had to grow up a lot faster than the norm. But almost every other day just walking to school, coming home from school or whatever it shall be, you’re always hit with adversity or some sort of problem that you had to overcome.”
According to the website Neighborhood Scout, the violent crime rate in Reading (7.21) nearly doubles the national median (4.0). Despite receiving offers to leave his troubled hometown for more prestigious Pennsylvania high schools, Walker opted to finish his career at Reading High School. In 2017, he led the Red Knights to their first state championship in the school history.
Walker comes from a hard-working family. He told The Undefeated his father worked as many as four jobs at one time to support the family. Walker credits his father for being a strong role model and showing him the way out of Reading.
“Not too many people growing up in Reading, Pennsylvania, ever have the father figure or someone to look up to, and to feel like they’re worth something,” Walker said. “So me getting an opportunity to get drafted by a team or get picked up, I feel like it’s going to be a big thing for my community just on the mental side of things.