The National Basketball Association season has started once again. We get to watch as Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks battle with the best team the NBA has to offer. We get to watch as the basketball phenom Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs clash with teams on the court. We get to watch Jalen Green and the rest of the young stars on the Houston Rockets shine. This season is sure to be one for the books.
While these NBA teams battle it out through the preseason, a group of affiliate teams begin their start to the season. This group of affiliate teams are the
NBA’s G League. The G League is where NBA teams can send players to improve their game. These improvements come from playing against other G League teams. The Mavericks have their team located in Frisco, Texas. The Spurs have their team located in Austin, Texas. The Rockets have their team located in Edinburg, Texas. They are the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
The Vipers are preparing to start their season. The goal is simple though: Bring the championship back to the Rio Grande Valley. The Vipers lead the G League in championships (4) with wins in the 2010, 2013, 2019, and 2022 season. They were not able to repeat their success in the 2023 season. The Vipers snuck into the playoffs with a late run in the regular season and made it all the way to the finals, but ultimately lost to the Delaware Blue Coats in two games. There is no doubt that the Vipers are looking to make another finals run this season. Returning forward Darius Days had this to say about this year’s team, “Everything is new this year, same goals as last year though. To get to that championship and win it. We came up short last year. There’s a lot of new faces and coming back as a leader this year, we have a lot of things to clean up and get better at…We got a lot of new good guys. Matthew Myers, a shooter, ball handler, very athlet
ic. We got Kyree Walker, we just drafted him, great guy, gets downhill, gets to the rim, gets fouled. We got a lot of good guys.” Days averaged 24.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals a game as a Viper last season. The roster has many skillful players and Days continues to be amongst the best.
I got the chance to speak to Vipers’ talented forward Kyree Walker. Walker emerged onto the basketball scene and started gaining nationwide viewership as a high schooler. His basketball mixtapes still get talked about to this day. A successful tenure in high school averaging 27.2 points, 7.2 assists, 9.7 rebounds, three steals, and 2.3 blocks would lead him to declaring for the 2021 NBA draft. After going undrafted, Walker would spend the season with the Capital City Go-Go’s. The Vipers acquired the right to Walker and now he is a part of the prestigious RGV Vipers.
Walker told me about his journey into the league, “It definitely took a lot of work, a lot of preparation, time in the gym with my dad and all my friends who put me through
a lot of tough times. Definitely took a lot of work and patience.”
We talked about his expectations for himself and the team, “For myself, to have a great season, being back in the G league means a lot for myself and my career, where I am mentally and physically. I’m here with some of the best players in the G league. I’m coming in humble and ready to work, to be a glue guy, and do whatever it takes for the team. I want to win a championship. Coming back for my second year, I’m a lot more mature, focused, and locked in.” There is no doubt that this team is absolutely smacked with talent and Kyree Walker is a fitting example.
The Vipers are hoping to come out of this season as champions. That is the goal as a team. Individually, these players are competing for a spot to play on an NBA team. A good season would warrant a call-up to play for one of the thirty teams in the league. The start of the NBA season means more to these players. The best chance to get a contract with an NBA team is through the G League. Every moment matters. We wish the Vipers the best of luck this season; they travel to the home of the Memphis Hustle on Friday, November 10th.