Houston Rockets point guard John Wall is playing the Washington Wizards, his former team, tonight, in D.C. The game will certainly be significant because it’s Wall’s first time back in the nation’s capital, though the Rockets did beat the Wizards, 107-88 at home in their first meeting last month.
Wall was interviewed by NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller, which devolved from a conversation to Wall reminiscing his time in D.C. Here are some of the many highlights:
- Watching the Washington Mystics win the 2019 WNBA Finals and the Washington Nationals win the 2019 MLB World Series
- Participating in a June 19, 2020 march with the Mystics where they “and the Wizards came together as one whole.”
- Playing in the city where his father was born and raised. It’s also where his children were born.
- Being a philanthropist in the D.C. community, in particular for those who live in low income neighborhoods.
All of these are good memories, both for Wall as a man and for the city’s sports community as a whole.
There is also one part that he left out: His on-court contributions to the Wizards. Wall is their all-time leader in career assists and steals. He led the Wizards to their first division championship in the 2016-17 season as the Wizards, not the Bullets. And the Wizards enjoyed their best run of NBA Playoff success in 40 years with Wall as their starting point guard.
I know that many of us wished the Wizards would have made at least one Eastern Conference Finals appearance between 2014 and 2018. But Washington made three second round playoff appearances in that time, which is consistently good performance at the end of the day. What disappoints me from that time is that the Wizards were pretty darn close to making the Eastern Conference Finals. They were literally minutes away from this piece being published!
Today, I looked at one draft that never got published. We were about 30 min or so away from this happening.— Albert Lee (@aleeinthedmv) February 15, 2021
Yes, this is a preview screen, which is why the date shows up as today.
How different would life be if this piece was reality?#DCFamily (the hashtag back then)
Anyway, I don’t want to speculate how Wall feels about the Wizards, but it appears that Wall doesn’t feel particularly great about the circumstances leading to his trade to Houston. In an article by Fred Katz of The Athletic (subscription required), Wall believed the Wizards were not forthcoming about whether he was going to be moved. He believed he deserved more transparency from the front office given his tenure and loyalty.
Tonight will be a big game for sure and I can’t wait to see how everything plays out.