Berks

Lonnie Walker fans pack stands to see star get drafted

Reading basketball hero picked by Spurs

READING, Pa. - You would have thought there was a big game at FirstEnergy Stadium on Thursday night.

Instead, fans packed the stands to watch Reading's own Lonnie Walker get drafted.

And now the next chapter in the Lonnie Walker story is about to be written.

Millions saw it on TV, including thousands who gathered at the stadium to watch Walker get drafted with the 18th overall pick, by the San Antonio Spurs.

"It means everything," said Desmin Derios, a fan in attendance. "Reading needs this. We need positivity."

In all, the night celebrated Lonnie — and the local basketball programs that helped pave his path from Reading to Miami and now to the San Antonio Spurs.

"It means so much to me," said Anthony Crisafulli, a Blacktop Basketball player. "He's a great guy. He's a great player. We are all kids from Reading."

Many sported their favorite NBA team jerseys, but no doubt, many will be buying San Antonio Spurs jerseys now.

"Of course, gotta represent," Derios said. "It's where I'm from."

The watch party at the baseball stadium helped to raise money for youth basketball and perhaps help the next NBA-bound basketball player from Berks County.

"I always say, ‘What would Lonnie do?,’" said Ed Case, an area basketball coach. "He's a role model for all of our kids."

For now, the night belongs to Lonnie, and those in attendance know that he'll always belong to Reading.

"It means everything. Reading needs this," Derios said. "All the negativity, out of the city. We need this."


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