When the Washington Wizards won the draft lottery on May 18, 2010, Wizards fans celebrated. While having the number one pick usually sparks a little debate, it was never really questioned that the Wizards would be drafting John Wall. Since then, Wall has given his all to the Wizards organization and fans.
This season has been injury-plagued for Wall. The team has held its own without him. That has led to many to speculate that maybe the team is better without him. It’s to be expected, sports fans are fickle. However, one of those people is Colin Cowherd, who has seemingly had an issue with Wall since day one. Here’s some history on Wall and Cowherd.
In the Beginning
When he was introduced for his very first game in DC, Wall had the nerve to dance. Wall has since said that it was, then assistant coach, Sam Cassell’s idea for him to come out and dance, to get the crowd into it. Since then, Cowherd has taken every opportunity to take shots at Wall. Let’s break down what Cowherd had to say about Wall after his DC debut.
“Much like I called out Greg Oden, I’m gonna call out John Wall….Before the game started, he spent 34 seconds doing the Dougie. That tells me all I need to know about J-Wow. Then he opened his mouth later and confirmed it: not a sharp guy. All about him. In that line last night, that 29-point line, when he was out of control, he had 8 turnovers. By the way, Rajon Rondo had 17 assists last night, 0 turnovers. Rajon’s got rings, Wall will never have one.”
Yes, Cowherd called out a rookie for dancing, to hype up the fans who were seeing him playing at home for the first time. Not just that, he went on to compare a player three games into his career to Rajon Rondo. At the time, Rondo was a fifth-year player. He was on a team with three future Hall of Famers in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. He’d also won a championship with a veteran lead Boston Celtics team. Sure, Wall had nine turnovers. It was his third career game, and his team won. He also had 29 points, 13 assists, and a franchise record-tying nine steals.
Even a shot at his father
The win didn’t matter to Cowherd who also went on to speak on Wall’s father.
“”Let me tell you something: I’m a big believer, when it comes to quarterbacks and point guards. Who’s your dad? Who’s your dad? Because I like confrontational players, I don’t like passive aggressive. Strong families equal strong leaders. Talent? Overrated. Leadership? Underrated. And you can say, well, Colin, can you just go out and say anything crazy and get people to e-mail. That’s not the point. You wouldn’t e-mail if I was an idiot, because you wouldn’t listen to the show. You listen to the show because we make good points.”
Who is Wall’s dad? His father was John Carroll Wall Sr. He died of liver cancer in 1999, when Wall was eight years old. From ages 2-8, Wall only saw his father on weekends due to his father’s incarceration. He passed a month after he was released from prison. You could give Cowherd the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he didn’t know any of this. Even if that’s true, it’s still irresponsible journalism, at best. At worst, it’s coded racism. As of the 2015-2016 season, 74.3 percent of all NBA players were black. Many of them come from similar situations as Wall. With that being said, Cowherd’s insensitive statements about Wall could apply to more than half of the league.
In the 2014-2015 season, the Wizards made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second year in a row. They swept the Toronto Raptors in the first round. If it wasn’t for an injury to Wall, they likely would’ve beaten the Atlanta Hawks and met the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals. Wall averaged 17 points and 10 assists per game that season. After the season, Cowherd still felt the need to tell everyone he was right about Wall. He even brought up his childhood again.
“I don’t blame him, I wrote about this in my first book, I don’t blame him but these people that say there is no correlation between your environment and your leadership … You’re clowns. You can give me the exception, ‘Well Barack Obama is one of the smartest guys in the country, he’s an academic.’ The average person is not an academic, and their childhood will overwhelmingly dictate strengths, liabilities, weaknesses, empowerment … And through no fault of his [John Wall’s] own, I think he’s going to be a great talent, but boy he had a rough childhood and I don’t know if I’m building my franchise around him.”
Apparently, building an NBA franchise around a guy who had a rough childhood is a bad idea. LeBron James had a rough childhood too, but I think the Cavaliers are extremely happy to be able to build a franchise around him. Fans are questioning Wall for basketball reasons. Cowherd is doing it to justify the racist remarks he made about a 20-year-old. Whenever something happens with Wall, Cowherd takes the opportunity to say “See! I was right about him,” and it’s disgusting.