John Wall isn’t hiding his desire to prove something to the Wizards when he faces them tonight for the first time since being traded, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports. Wall, who spent 10 seasons in Washington before the December 2 deal that sent him to Houston, believes the organization lost confidence after injuries sidelined him for the past two years.
“Just seeing everybody that’s over there, a lot of people that’s on that side that probably didn’t believe I could come back to be the person I am. And probably some people that had a little say so into me being traded,” Wall said. “I feel like it was a whole process and it wasn’t just something that happened overnight. I think this was in the works. That’s my motivation. Who wouldn’t want to beat the team that traded them and felt like I was done?”
Wall has shown flashes of his old self during the first month of the season. He has played in eight of the Rockets‘ first 15 games and is averaging 17.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists per night. He has also adopted a leadership role and was one of the team’s most vocal players when James Harden was forcing his way out of Houston.
Wall’s comments are from an in-depth interview with Chris Miller that NBC Sports Washington will air before tonight’s game. Wall admits he considers the contest to be personal.
“I feel like it is. I definitely feel so because, I know I had my say so and my responsibilities with what I did off the court and things I (did), but I owned up to those. I said my apologies and that’s the best I can do,” Wall said. “Nobody’s perfect. We all live and learn from our mistakes. I wish it would have never happened, but it happened, yes. I moved forward from it. My mindset was to come back and compete at a high level in the one jersey I only knew for 10 years.”
Wall’s is likely referring to an offseason video of him at a party where he allegedly displayed gang signs.
“I just wish I would have known up front and not have to beat around the bush to figure things out,” he continued. “That’s just my motivation there. They thought I was done. Basically, that’s how I feel. This is my opportunity to show them that I’m not done. But the most important thing for me is get the win. I don’t care how many numbers I have, it’s about getting the win. That’s the most important thing because if I get 40 and then we lose, the trade don’t look as bad from their aspect because they beat us that one game they did play us. So my ultimate goal is to try to get a win for my team.”
“Most importantly, all I really wanted from the start of all of it was just to be told the truth,” Wall said. “That’s the most important thing and what made it so hard for me to understand what was going on because I wasn’t told the truth. I understand it’s a business and things go on and people move on and you get traded, organizations in different ways. When I heard the rumors, I called and asked are these true or are these something not to worry about? From that day forward, all I heard was ‘no, those rumors aren’t true, don’t worry about it.’ In all reality, it was true.”