In his seven NBA seasons with the Celtics, power forward Antoine Walker endured a 15-win campaign, boos from Boston fans and public criticism from his coach. But he hit a new low in the Eastern Conference semifinals last spring, when the Nets' Kenyon Martin held him to 34.3% shooting in a New Jersey sweep. The 6'9", 245-pound Walker went home to Chicago determined to remake his body. Says the three-time All-Star, "I wanted to feel quick again."
Over the summer Walker embarked on a four-hour daily workout regimen with Michael Jordan's trainer, Tim Grover. Instead of building up his chest and shoulders like a prototypical power forward, Walker focused on slimming down so he could better handle his multiple responsibilities in the Boston offense. He lost 15 pounds while strengthening his legs with presses and hours on the treadmill. The Mavericks must have liked the new look: On Monday they acquired him for 6'11" Raef LaFrentz in a five-player deal.
At 27, Walker is still young enough to be transformed by his commitment to conditioning. "Sometimes it takes getting swept, having an injury, having a bad series for you to get yourself back right," he says. "I want to be like Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen: one of those guys who's 36 or 37 and people are asking me how long I want to keep playing."