Overcoming adversity always makes a great story. Here in DC on 7th and F Street is a story that keeps on writing itself. It’s the one about the about the “Great Wall of Chinatown”. John Wall recently passed a big milestone: the franchise assists record, leaving his mark in Wizards history.
Back in the 2009-2010 season, the Washington Wizards were in turmoil. A couple of weeks after the death of Abe Pollin, star player Gilbert Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton brought guns into the locker room before a practice and we all know the rest. Fast-forward to May of that year and it seemed as if luck was finally going the Wizards way. The Wizards won the NBA Draft Lottery with Abe’s widow, Irene, representing the organization while sporting the Bullets’ 1978 NBA championship ring. And with that first pick in the draft, the Wizards selected John Wall out of Kentucky.
Wall has been hands down the best player on the court for the Wizards ever since his NBA debut but until the Wizards selected Bradley Beal in 2012, Wall didn’t much of a supporting cast around him. Even with Beal, there were issues that Wall needed to solve from injuries, coaching changes, and even endless criticism from pundits. In particular, Colin Cowherd has been known to give Wall a hard time.
There also isn’t a lot of respect geared towards Wall. Wall doesn’t get the recognition the way other point guards do across the star-studded league. He should be joining the likes of Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, etc. as part of the conversation. Maybe it’s because the Wizards have only won three games and couldn’t make the playoffs last year. This season in particular with the exception of Beal (when healthy) and Marcin Gortat, the Wizards depth has been an issue especially from the reserves on the bench.
Even so, Wall has been selected to three straight All-Star Games, a Slam Dunk champion, and led the Wizards to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2014 and 2015. How could Wall get more recognition from around the league? Simple: win.
On November 7 Wall got some recognition that he certainly deserved as he became the Bullets/Wizards franchise assist leader. As of November 18, Wall is at 3,854 career assists. To put this in perspective, he passed all-time Bullets legend Wes Unseld who finished with 3,822. Arenas is sixth on the list with 2,046 while former Bullet and now current Wizards broadcaster Phil Chenier is 10th with 1,688 dimes.
On Saturday night, Wall was a big for the Wizards despite a loss to the Heat, leading the team with 34 points and 8 assists. He and Beal both finished with a combined 68 points.
There is this elephant in the room going around in Wizards Nation that the Wizards are considering trading Wall. This based on several unconfirmed rumors but still floating around enough to draw some uneasiness. People believe that Wall’s time with the Wizards are wasting his prime years (he’s only 26). Wall did tell Sports Illustrated that his ultimate goal is to bring a championship to The District. And for a lot of us diehard Wizards fans, we would love to see nothing more than a parade down Constitution Avenue with John Wall holding the Larry O’Brien trophy. But mindless of whatever the future holds, John Wall has left his mark in DC Sports history.