The Washington Wizards played at Capital One Arena last night But it often felt more like a road game because John Wall and the Los Angeles Clippers were in town. The Wizards lost, 114-107. We will certainly have our takes that the team needed to rebuild last year (or perhaps before then), let alone by the trade deadline. But before we move in that direction, let’s take a few moments to celebrate Wall’s return to D.C.
Wall was the Wizards’ starting point guard and franchise player for a decade. Washington made four playoff appearances during his time here, including three appearances in the second round. Wall also left the Wizards as the franchise leader in career assists.
Last night, Wall scored 13 points and dished 3 assists last night in his first start of the season (and that is because he is used primarily as a sixth man) for LA. His most noteworthy highlight was this pull-up shot that capped off a 9-0 run against Washington in the second quarter, prompting Wes Unseld, Jr. to call a timeout. At this point, Wall yelled “This is still MY CITY!” to a sea of approving Wizards fans. One even got a high five.
John Wall turning up with the Wizards crowd— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 11, 2022
"THIS IS STILL MY CITY" pic.twitter.com/PlUPaEIp0X
After the game, Wall answered a question regarding that moment, acknowledging that he felt like he was a Wizards player.
John Wall on ‘Still My City’— Hoop District (@Hoop_District) December 11, 2022
“In that moment and electrifying the crowd. That’s what I’ve been doing for a lot of years in my career when I was here.... To see the crowd stand up, I’m like, ‘damn I might feel like I’m still in a Wizards jersey now.’ It was a dope moment for me.” pic.twitter.com/GuAcxqEURk
"Looked over at the seats where my mom used to be sitting at and the other four seats where my family used to sit at and just try to fantasize and be in that moment for a minute. Just being here – like I said, still so surreal. Still don’t feel right, still feel different."— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) December 11, 2022
Before the game, Wall entered shootaround to many cheering fans.
D.C. legend John Wall makes his long awaited return to Washington on Saturday for the first time in front of fans.— All-Pro Reels (@allproreels) December 11, 2022
Wall was a 5-time consecutive All-Star from 2014-18 and is the franchise leader in assists (5,282), but his greatest assists were off the court in the community. pic.twitter.com/BJn5opiFlP
John Wall signing autographs for fans pregame! pic.twitter.com/W3NHlzCIDS— Becca (@BeccaMVP) December 10, 2022
And he was given a standing ovation during starting lineups.
The crowd in Capital One Arena cheers loudly when John Wall is announced. We missed him! pic.twitter.com/Z3zwgmmZvH— Becca (@BeccaMVP) December 11, 2022
There hasn’t been much to root for this season. Washington is on a six-game losing streak. The Wizards aren’t doing much better or worse whether Bradley Beal is on the court or not. Beal can effectively choose where he goes to if and when he requests a trade from the Wizards. And Johnny Davis, their 2023 first-round draft pick is almost definitely a bust because he isn’t playable in an NBA uniform.
All of our (and my grievances aside), last night made me feel nostalgic for the 2010s when Wall was here. It felt good to see Wall come back to D.C. in front of a full crowd and get the homecoming he deserves.