If you were holding out hope John Wall still had a shot at representing Team USA at the 2016 Olympics, you can probably let go of that hope now. Why? Because Wall understands the endgame, according to Ben Standig of CSN Washington:
"I’ll be out of the picture," said Wall through a laugh and without any noticeable trace of resentment.
"I’m just being honest," Wall continued. "Chris Paul has already won one (Olympic gold medal). Steph Curry had an amazing last year and just won the World Cup. Kyrie just won the World Cup. Russell will probably be on the team. They’ll use him as a two-guard.
"So, I probably won’t make it."
This shouldn't come as a shock. As we've discussed before, the odds are stacked against John Wall playing in Rio next summer. The point guard position is stacked, and you can't blame Mike Krzyzewski for leaning towards players he's worked with in the past. Despite being slighted by what some could argue is a bit of an unfair system, Wall is handling the reality in a very mature way.
Wall seems to be content with reality, and we should learn to be content with it as well. It's becoming clear that Wall is never going to reach the inner circle of NBA stardom. Yes, he showed last season he's popular enough to earn an All-Star starting spot, he's starring in commercials, and he was a big enough draw to anchor a Christmas Day game against the Knicks. Clearly, he's a star, but he's still not getting treated like a superstar.
We're already seeing Wall's star power fade, even though he continues to improve as a player. The Wizards were rewarded fewer games on ESPN and TNT this season after another deep playoff run. Adidas gave James Harden a godfather offer because clearly they didn't want to rely on Wall and Derrick Rose to carry the brand. And even though Wall is arguably the second-best player in the Eastern Conference, but he can't find a roster spot on an All-NBA team or Team USA. People really like John Wall on a national level, but no one really loves John Wall.
So if that's the case, then let's stop trying to be John Wall's advocates to NBA fans. If people want to get as excited about watching John Wall as they are about watching Damian Lillard and Eric Bledsoe, let them (the Suns & Blazers have as many games on ESPN and TNT as the Wiz). It's their loss. Wizards fans can just hoard all the John Wall highlights for themselves. It's not like Wizards fans lack experience with being glossed over by the rest of the NBA.
The real challenge comes for Wall who has to learn how to play the outsider card now. He's already shown a willingness to stray from the path in the past, by speaking out against Players' Choice Awards and refusing to back down from a rough foul from Quincy Acy last season, even though it came in a Christmas Day game where Wall could've kept his reputation clean by avoiding conflict.
Since Wall isn't going to be treated like a star in the same way other players of his ilk are, he should continue to seek out ways to be the rebel in the NBA's star system. He should study how other NBA outsiders, guys like Isiah Thomas, Charles Barkley, and Chris Webber handled being looked at as second-rate superstars and how they turned their slights into success. Wall has plenty of reasons to start embracing this new role in the NBA hierarchy.