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Why I’m A Fan of UConn: A lifelong fan with a little help from Kemba Walker

Arizona v Connecticut
The 2011 team launched my fandom to a new level.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Welcome to a refreshed The UConn Blog! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

As corny as it sounds, I’ve been a Husky since birth, even though I’m actually the first member of my family to go to UConn.

However, I was lucky enough to be born into season tickets for the men’s basketball team. My grandmother bought them when the Big East first formed and eventually passed them to my mom. Because of this great fortune, I was going to games before I could walk.

I was mostly too young to remember a lot of the greats. The players around 2002-2004 era are my earliest memories of UConn. My favorite player at the time was Rashad Anderson. I had, and still have, his jersey in both white and blue. I remember Ben Gordon, Shamon Tooles, and Denham Brown the most along with Anderson.

The majority of my memories are just short snapshots. I remember watching Glen Davis and LSU fall to UConn at the XL Center. I (unfortunately) remember the George Mason game. I remember Ryan Thompson falling down in front of the UConn bench, where Jim Calhoun stood up and began screaming at him. I’ve never seen a player run up the court faster.

The earliest clear memory on January 8, 2011. UConn was at Texas in a rematch of the Huskies’ huge upset over the then-No. 1 Longhorns. The game goes into overtime. With 18.2 seconds to go, UConn was down 81-80 and inbounded the ball to Kemba Walker. He brought it up, crossed over, stepped back and buried it with 5.1 seconds left.

The legend of Cardiac Kemba was born, and I was officially hooked.

From then on, I remember everything much more vividly. I’ve been a UConn fan my whole life, but that was the moment it all clicked. But the story doesn’t end there.

My junior year of high school, I started looking at colleges and the schools fell into two categories: UConn and not UConn. The plan was to go to UConn and if I didn’t get in, well, I didn’t like to think about that. Fortunately, I was accepted and am now living my biggest dream as a UConn student.

It also opened a new door as a fan. Finally, I was in the student section, something I’d imagined for years. Even though I watched the worst season ever, probably, I wouldn’t give a second of it back.

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