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John Wall wanted to go back to college and get paid during his rookie season with the Wizards

The former Washington Wizards point guard talked about how tough it was to be on a losing team during his appearance on The Tidal League podcast last January. It’s a reminder of how life can be like for a rebuilding team.

The Washington Wizards are about to enter their first true rebuild since 2010-11. And like that 2010-11 season, we should anticipate, but not necessarily expect, a lot of losing.

And while I don’t like to write all the bad news, I also don’t want folks to expect too much from the Wizards. So … here goes.

On an episode of The Tidal League podcast from last January, former Wizards guard John Wall spoke about his experiences during his rookie year. The embed is in the link above, and also a shoutout to Shane Garry Aceders of The Basketball Network for writing about this snippet earlier. We also wrote about another section of the same podcast where Wall talked about how he learned that he was traded for Russell Westbrook in 2020.

But going back to that snippet, what are some of the highlights?

  • Wall detailed that he openly asked a Wizards employee if he could go back to college, presumably the University of Kentucky and get paid. In today’s NCAA, he could do that with Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deals. But back then, it was a no-go.
  • He said that Kirk Hinrich was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in the middle of a game. I get executing a trade right after or before a game. BUT IN THE MIDDLE!?
  • The Wizards started 0-25 on the road in 2010-11. Regarding that start on the road, Wall said, “Why the fuck are we going? Just put forfeit on the board.” The Wizards ultimately won their first road game of the season against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The three minute snippet gives us a glimpse of the season of how that season was for Washington from one of their previous franchise players. I don’t want the Wizards to feel like they should “forfeit” road games this upcoming season or see Jordan Poole or Kyle Kuzma get traded mid-game during the season. But for rebuilding teams, this is probably more of the norm than not — even if Washington had a different front office then.

So, buckle up! The season is just a few days away.