When you are the number option on a team and see the number two option sign a five year $128 million deal that will give him an annual base salary of $25 million, you shouldn’t be maligned for saying this, “Now that you have your money you got to go out there and improve your game. I want you to be an All-Star just as much as I’m an All-Star”. Those were the words of Washington Wizards Point Guard and three time NBA All-Star after seeing backcourt mate and Shooting Guard Bradley Beal earn a bumper contract ahead of the 2016-2017 season which has officially began with teams participating in training camps and set for friendly games.

Many have bristled at Wall for making those statements and zoomed the lenses on the Wizards as Wall recovers from surgeries to both knees during the offseason. Had Wall kept quiet or said the right things and avoided further statements like this, “I think a lot of times we have a tendency to dislike each other on the court. … We got to be able to put that to the side”, Washington would have been out of the gaze of the entire world.


Following a disappointing end to last season where the side failed to qualify for the playoffs reaching the semifinals only a year before, coveted free agent Kevin Durant who by the way is from the DC area not giving the side audience to pitch their sale before signing for Golden State Warriors, Washington would have walked into the season as a low key franchise. Management had to settle on lesser profile signings as Ian Mahinmi’s four year $64 million contract was the only headline purchase the side could make. Bringing in veteran Marcus Thornton, Andrew Nicholson and Trey Burke after a trade with Utah Jazz summed up what has been a disappointing showing on the market for the team.

But the 2010 number one pick has good reasons to be pissed with all that is happening around him. Starting with the enormous amount of money being thrown around the league, it is only fair a star like John Wall gets to feast. However, his reported requests for an extension to his contract which would have him walk home with more money than the $16 million he gets from his current deal, have been turned down by the Wizards. James Harden had two years remaining on his contract but got a surprise bump in years and value as his salary for the upcoming year improved from $16 million to $26 million after signing an extension with Houston Rockets.


Wall will be in the third year of a five year $80 million contract he signed in 2013 two full years before massive cash was injected into the league. Harden is leader of the Rockets, other signees including Russell Westbrook are too and similarly got rewarded heavily. Wall is the unquestioned leader of the Wizards having led the side from the Eastern Conference doldrums to a legitimate contender before last season’s collapse but is yet to be viewed as one.

In the modern media filled world we live in, athletes are not measured simply by what they do on the court but what they do off the court matters; check out Derrick Rose’ turbulent start to his New York Knicks career due to a sexual escapade.

Prominent among the things used to measure success is shoe endorsements which has over the years became the main staple for athletes to cling onto. And even here, Wall is on the outside looking in as the Point Guard is currently a shoe free agent following the end of his five year relationship with Adidas. Following his entry into the league as the first pick, Reebok signed the lightning quick former Kentucky man to a five year deal that paid him $2.5 million a year. Reebok was sold to parent company Adidas in the third year of the deal and was offered a new contract worth $7.5 million a year which was subsequently rejected by Wall after sacking his agent and replacing him with LeBron James agent Rich Paul.


One can feel for Wall who despite multiple trips to the league’s showcase event (All-Star Weekend) and winning the Slam Dunk contest, leading Washington to two straight semifinal Conference appearances, he can’t usurp an injury plagued Derrick Rose in the shoe company’s hierarchy in spite of Rose’s fallen production and off the court misdemeanors. Rose was recently in Las Vegas alongside Adidas top endorsers Harden, Damian Lillard and Andrew Wiggins to promote a new collection of shoes for the season. Plus there is the thorny issue of seeing Wall miss out on the ALL-NBA Teams for two straight years after averaging 17.6 points and 10 assists in 2015 and 19.9 points and 10.2 assists in 2016 according to

There comes a time when a man has to speak up and incurring the public’s wrath for doing so about what he is due doesn’t necessarily make John Wall wrong, on the contrary he is right.

By Yaw Adjei-Mintah


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