John Wall pledges a million to charity
We can debate whether or not the Washington Wizards giving a five-year and $80 million contract to John Wall this year was a good idea or not, but it is done now and the John Wall Era got off to a nice start at yesterday’s press conference, where the young point guard promised to donate $1 million to local charities and broke down discussing how much financial security means to the woman who raised him alone — his mother, Frances Pulley.
Wall thanked team owner Ted Leonsis, General Manager Ernie Grunfeld and Head Coach Randy Wittman for believing in him enough to hitch the franchise to him through, at least 2019.
“It’s a humbling experience and great opportunity to sign this contract, but it’s not about just for me,” Wall said. “The main thing is giving back and giving back the right way. Giving back to these charities is a great opportunity.”
To that end, Wall promised $1 million to local charities, focusing on causes personally important to him.
“I want to donate my time along with the money,” Wall said. “My whole thing is I was put on this earth to be something, and I was blessed to be a great basketball player, but my main thing was to keep striving to be a better person. That’s one thing my mom always instilled in me, it doesn’t matter what nobody thinks about you as a basketball player, God is going to look at you as a person first.”
Wall promised to remain motivated to excel, something the Wizards and their fans must surely hope is true.
“I’ll never let money change me,” Wall said. “I’m already motivated. But this is motivation to another level. The only thing you can do is win now. If you’re not winning what’s the point of getting the contract? You’re still going to get your money but you’re not going to have no fun. It’s no point in having it and not being happy.”
Wall becomes the fifth NBA point guard currently in the league to sign the maximum contract, but the first to do so without ever making an All Star game. Wall’s contract allows him to earn up to 30 percent of the team payroll and the deal could be worth $96 million if he wins an MVP award.
Coach Wittman said Wall’s performance last year, where he missed the first 33 games to injury but returned for the final 49 games and posted 18.5 ppg, 7.6 apg and a 44% shooting percentage, often looking like one of the best players in the NBA despite having very little healthy talent around him.
“I think that was a really big determining factor, I think in all of our minds of what and who John Wall will become,” Wittman said. “He’s not there yet and I think he knows that, he’s aware of that and he’s willing to work and do that.”
Check out video of the press conference below: