For the second time in a span of four weeks, Houston Rockets guard John Wall is set to face his former team in the Washington Wizards.
For the first time, it will take place in Washington, D.C., the place that Wall called home for the first 10 years of his professional career. When asked about the emotions of playing against the Wizards in Houston back in January, Wall responded that it would be the return to Washington when he feels something.
"I think that's when it will be the most emotions, when I have the opportunity to walk back into Capital One Arena and to see the city where I've been the last 10 years."
Look no further than Wall's emotional goodbye to D.C. for an understanding of how much the community means to him.
Just as much as the city meant to him, it can't be understated how much Wall meant to the community and to that franchise as well.
The moment that Wall was selected with the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, he was handed the keys to a Wizards franchise that looked to usher in a new era following a few troublesome years. And who could forget his first true introduction to his new fanbase?
When I think of Wall's tenure in D.C., a few specific memories stand out more than some others. Of course, there's the intro video but there's also the pure joy on his face in 2014 as he walked to the locker room after leading Washington to its first playoff series win in nine years.
Above all, the defining moment has to be the game-winning 3-pointer against the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Semifinals that forced a Game 7. There's something poetic about Wall fearlessly knocking down the shot and celebrating by jumping on the scorer's table to let the fans in his city know that he wouldn't let them down.
Those same fans cheered Wall on to three playoff series wins, five All-Star appearances and an All-NBA selection in 2017.
While the lack of fans in attendance will certainly take away an emotional element, the above represents just a fraction of Wall's legacy as one of the greatest to ever don a Washington uniform. Over 10 years and nine seasons, Wall's impact was felt both on and off the court … and in the record books.
Wizards franchise records
• First all-time in total assists - 5,282
• First all-time in total steals - 976
• First all-time in assists per game - 9.2
• Third all-time in minutes played - 20,545
• Fourth all-time in total points - 10,879
• Most assists in one season - 831 in 2016-17
Stats and personal honours
• Regular season averages: 19.0 points, 9.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds over 590 games
• Postseason averages: 21.9 points, 9.8 assists, 4.3 rebounds over 37 games
• Five-time All-Star (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
• 2016-17 All-NBA Third Team
• 2014-15 All-Defensive Second Team
• 2010-11 All-Rookie First Team
• Two-time Eastern Conference Player of the Month (December 2015, December 2016)
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