John Wall’s 2018-19 season has been nothing short of a nightmare. He continued to put up big numbers as a scorer and passer, but the Wizards were one of the worst NBA teams for much of the first half of the season.
The Wizards weren’t able to start turning things around until January. And like last year, it once again brings up the debate among all passionate fans of the Washington NBA team. Is the “Everybody Eats” style of play and mentality better than Wall’s trademark style of breaking down the defense on his own to set up easier shots for teammates?
And if all that weren’t enough, Wall’s accused of partying too much. It’s been a rough few months for the Wizards’ franchise player.
But let’s be honest. Wall has had a lot to deal with. He isn’t just injured. He’s a new dad. And Wall really isn’t a bad person at his core. He had a significant January of his own. So let’s check in on what he’s done.
Wall’s heel surgery in early January was successful
In early January, Wall had his season-ending heel surgery. He then posted a post-op recovery picture on his Instagram account to let everyone know that he’s okay. We haven’t heard of any early setbacks. So that means Wall should be ready to take part in basketball activities in six to eight months.
If I had to guess, Wall will spend at least some of that time as a Mystics practice player at the MedStar Performance Center in Congress Heights. There, he’ll help D.C.’s WNBA team win this year’s championship behind the scenes and Ted Leonsis will give him a ring. Besides that, Wall will likely spend time in Miami and Los Angeles where has participated in offseason training over the past several years.
Wall gave Giant supermarket gift cards to federal government employees last week
JWFF will be distributing 100 @giantfood gift cards tmw, Fri. Jan. 25 from 3pm-4pm to furloughed Federal Government workers in need. GOVERNMENT ID must be PRESENT. Gift cards are first come, first served and only available while supplies last. One per person #JWFF #DCFamily pic.twitter.com/udNzHNT1Gy— JW-Family Foundation (@JWFamFoundation) January 25, 2019
Last Friday, Wall’s foundation gave 100 Giant Food supermarket gift cards to federal government employees at a location in Northwest Washington. As I mentioned in this past week’s Top Stories, the Washington, D.C. area took a disproportionately hard hit during a 35-day government shutdown. Middle class workers, or average joes were in bread lines to get food rations. All over a border wall that many say isn’t necessary at best or rooted in racial intolerance at worst.
Wall did his part to help federal government employees who couldn’t pay the bills and put food on the table. And it wasn’t like the foundation had some third party person giving cards to people. Wall went to that Giant on 1400 7th Street Northwest and gave out those cards to people in need due to political gridlock that goes beyond their paygrades.
John Wall, not on the #Wizards road trip, spent some time yesterday personally handing out Giant grocery gift cards to furloughed government workers. pic.twitter.com/7ChchHH1vR— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) January 26, 2019
Before some people get cynical and say that Wall only started doing this on the day the shutdown ended, consider this. First, we just don’t know when the shutdown was going to end considering how far apart the major political parties were toward a resolution. Federal government workers won’t get their back pay until sometime next week, perhaps as late as Thursday, Jan. 31. And the damage the shutdown did to the Washington area goes beyond federal workers.
Contractors at museums or other federal government buildings that were closed will not get any back pay. And many small businesses, ranging from the local Uber driver you get your cheap ride from or that local restaurant you like to eat at once a week or more will never be able to recover from diminished demand over the shutdown. In fact, Washington’s annual winter restaurant week was extended by one week specifically because of the shutdown. The effects of a one-month long shutdown will last much longer than 35 days.
NBA players were insulated from the shutdown’s worst effects on a personal level. But in a city that is as dependent on the American federal government like Washington, it is also important to see goodwill gestures from community leaders understand the pain people are going through. Wall certainly hasn’t had the best year on the court this season. But on a personal level, he deserves major props for offering to serve the community when they need support the most.