John Wall Q + A
SLAM talks with the Wizards top pick at the Pro-Am.
After winning the MOP at the 2010 NBA Summer League with averages of 23.5 points and 7.8 dimes, Mr. Wall took a brief vacation to L.A. before rolling back to his hometown of Raleigh to take in the action at the Greater NC Pro-Am. While he didn’t take part in the action while we were chilling at the “Rucker of The South,” the No. 1 pick of June’s NBA Draft chopped it up with everyone from the area and had no problems signing what seemed to be countless autographs for fans on Rodney Rogers Appreciation Night.
John rapped with us about a bevy of topics, including his relationship with Jerry Stackhouse after “the dunk,” his meteoric rise from unknown to top player in the country, and a self-analysis on his showing in the Vegas Summer League.
SLAM: John, what’s up with you coming back to the Pro-Am right after your vacation?
John Wall: It’s a great place to play at. A lot of kids played here and I know I got a name for myself here and it’s a great place.
SLAM: You obviously put Jerry Stackhouse on poster last year at the Pro-Am, so are there any targets that you have this year?
JW: Nah, I don’t know if I’m going to play out here or not. Jerry is a great guy and I looked up to him when he was in Carolina.
SLAM: Speaking of which, tell me about when you punched on Jerry. That was nasty….
JW: I just made a play. I just got a lot of momentum. I’m not a great jumper, but I just got a lot of momentum and got over the top of him.
SLAM: The other day, Nils (Wagner from HoopMixtape) and I were going through some RBK Breakout film of you from the summer of 2007 when you were literally on not a single college’s radar. You had the damn mo-hawk and everything. How surreal is it to think back then that you’d be where you are right now?
JW: I honestly did. I thought it would take time, though. I always believed in my confidence and my abilities that I could play in the NBA eventually. Everything just came so fast that it really shocked me.
SLAM: With everything coming so fast, what’s been the most shocking thing to you? You have the fame, the money….
JW: Basically to have my family situated. My brothers are right here. They were with me when I was nobody, and now that I’m somebody, they’re the same brothers that I had before.
SLAM: Now you came from a Nike-sponsored AAU program and the usual protocol is to sign with the company that gave you love on the circuit. Why’d you decide to make a unique move and sign with Reebok?
JW: It was a great opportunity for me, man. I thought that they could best help me market my image. Nike, adidas, all those guys… they do great for their guys. It wasn’t about the money, but it was about who could help me best in the long haul. My own shoe, my own commercial, and who could help my family the best.
SLAM: You got 23 and 7 in the summer league, most outstanding player. But the turnovers were a bit high. Give me a self analysis of your play in Vegas.
JW: I’d give myself a “B.” My turnovers went down in the last two games. I only had 5 turnovers in my last two games combined. That was the key: lowering my turnovers. Once I got to know my teammates, my turnovers went down a lot.