Kemba Walker explains ‘DONT TREAD ON ME’ jacket: ‘It went with my sneakers. That’s all’

Kemba Walker in Celtics-Wizards play-in game
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Kemba Walker wore a Gadsden flag jacket – yellow with “DONT TREAD ON ME” and a snake – to the Celtics-Wizards play-in game last night.

The Celtics tweeted a photo of Walker in his jacket then deleted it as controversy and jokes swirled:

Originally used by colonists and directed against the British in the American Revolution, the Gadsden flag has had evolving meanings over time. Limited-government advocates have used it the last several decades, and it became especially popular with the Tea Party. Metallica had a song called “Don’t Tread on Me” with a similar-looking snake on the album cover. A liberal character on “The West Wing,” Sam Seaborn, had a “DONT TREAD ON ME” flag in his office. Some reprehensible people have used the flag to represent their extremism, particularly in recent years. But the flag remains so mainstream, several states offer license plates with its design.

What did Walker mean by his jacket?

Walker, via CLNS Media:

Was there any message?


I’m kind of confused by the question.

I have no idea. The colors looked good. It went with my sneakers. That’s all.

If Walker wanted to amplify a political message, he had opportunity to do so. Instead, he did the opposite.

It’s completely reasonable Walker picked the jacket only for fashion. There are more political symbols, especially considering evolving meanings, than anyone can keep up with.

Like James Harden with his Thin Blue Line mask, Walker should be taken at his word and this should be dropped as a serious issue. (Please continue with any good jokes that haven’t yet been made, though.)