The emotion that John Wall felt walking onto the court at Capital One Arena in front of fans for the first time since being traded in 2020 brought him more reflection than anyone could imagine. Wall was a 20-year-old boy when he was drafted by the Washington Wizards in 2010.
That boy grew up into a man throughout his ten years in Washington, D.C. It was a place where he had roots, made irreplaceable memories with fans, and bonded with the community more than any other player on the Wizards team.
All of those memories came rushing back on Sunday night when the Wizards faced the Los Angeles Clippers. It was clear when he spent over ten minutes signing autographs pregame and when he fought back tears as the Wizards rolled a tribute video during the first quarter that his heart is still in D.C.
“I was just thinking about all the history I have here. So many people I touched here, so many people touched me” Wall said. “They watched me grow from a young boy to a man. I was looking over at the seats my mom used to be sitting and the other four seats where my family used to sit at. I just tried to fantasize and be in that moment for a minute.”
“For me you know, I feel like just being here, it’s so surreal to me. It still don’t feel right. I still feel different,” he continued. “It was a lot of chills, trying not to cry, holding back a lot of emotions, and trying to be in the moment of the game and trying to win.”
At one point during the game, the emotion he tried to hold back came bursting out after he hit an open stepback jumper in the first quarter. He immediately looked at fans and passionately ran down the court proclaiming, “this still my city,” a nod to when he sent the Wizards to Game 7 in the 2017 playoffs and jumped on the scorer’s table shouting, “this my city.” There isn’t a fan that disagreed with his proclamation then or now.
Wall’s long-awaited reunion was bittersweet. He finally got the flowers he deserves and the Clippers walked away with the 114-107 win over the Wizards. You would think that gave Wall a sense of closure but surprisingly it did not.
Home is where the heart is, and it looks like John Wall is open to reuniting with the Wizards at some point in the future. Based on this short-lived return, Wizards fans would welcome him back with open arms.