When John Wall arrived at the Dave & Buster’s in Capitol Heights, Maryland, he was instantly swarmed by a sea of kids clamoring to take his picture and get a selfie. Like the Pied Piper, the kids followed Wall from game to game as the Washington Wizards star played ski ball, a football game, and yes, even some basketball.
The 500 kids from local schools, ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade, were the recipients of the John Wall Family Foundation’s sixth annual back to school event. In addition to spending Saturday morning with Wall at the Dave & Busters, the kids also received Adidas backpacks filled with school supplies to get ready for the coming school year.
While meeting with the media, Wall stressed the importance of education and revealed that he has been taking classes online to finish his Business Management degree at the University of Kentucky.
“I just finished my math exam on Thursday, before I came here,” Wall said to reporters. “I wasn’t happy about it, I didn’t like to study, but you got to do what you got to do [to graduate].”
Wall left the University of Kentucky in his freshman year to play with the Wizards. But he said his goal of graduating college is important to him, which is why he’s going back to school, nine years later.
“My most important thing I want to do is, because I promised my dad before he passed, is that I would go to college and get a degree,” Wall said. “I definitely want to get a degree. My sister is the first one to get a degree in my family. I’m trying to be the second.”
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“But the most important thing is to give back to the community.” – John Wall ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📍John Wall 6th Annual Back to School Backpack Giveaway ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🎥: @nina_ignacio15 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #DCFamily #Washington #Wizards #DCFamily #Photo #ProSports #WizardsBasketball #DCRising #NBA #Sports #Basketball #Media #BallisLife #Houseofhighlights #ESPN #BleacherReport #Monumental #DC #Washington #HoopDistrictVisuals #Complex
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Wall said he will have time this season to take classes, as he rehabs from surgery to repair his torn Achilles. He also wants to be “a good assistant coach” for his team.
Wall will likely be spending much of the 2019-20 season on the sidelines. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis said in a press conference last week that Wall “probably won’t play next season.”
Wall spoke about his recovery process, saying that he feels great.
“I’ve been jogging the last couple days. I’ve been on the court doing basketball workouts. I’m doing weightlifting every day,” Wall recounted. “I don’t know exactly where I’m at but I know I’m making progress so I’m headed where I’m supposed to be, but I’m not rushing myself back.”
Wall’s recovery plan probably didn’t include one-handed free-throws at Dave & Busters, but he obliged the crowd of kids eagerly surrounding him and made a few throws with only his left hand.
John Wall shows mercy on this Dave & Busters and shoots one-handed with his left. pic.twitter.com/Ll8RlwiCfT
— elizabeth (@of_elk) August 3, 2019
Safe to say he probably didn’t win many tickets off that performance.
Wall said when he was growing up in North Carolina, he never got the opportunity to meet his heroes or an NBA player, so he knows how much it means to these kids to see him in the community.
“I try to make sure I keep a clean image and show a good time to these kids, make sure they understand that education is first, that’s their most important thing,” Wall said. “To show these kids that whatever they want to be: a doctor, a teacher, a fireman, whatever they do, make sure they lock in and listen to their parents.”
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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