John Wall Explains Why He Wants to Play for Team USA in 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2020

Washington Wizards guard John Wall works out prior to an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall has his sights set on playing for Team USA at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

During an Instagram Live interview with Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated (h/t Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington) on Wednesday, Wall discussed why he wants to help Team USA vie for a gold medal: "When you put that red, white and blue on, you're representing your country. It doesn't matter if 'Wall' is on the back or whatever name is on the back, I want to represent my country. I know how much this country means to me, and I would definitely love to have an opportunity to play for it."

Although Wall has participated in some camps for Team USA, he has yet to play in the Olympics. With the Summer Games moved from this year to next year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Wall has a realistic chance to get himself in the mix.

He would not have been able to play in the Olympics had they been held this summer since a ruptured Achilles tendon has forced him to miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season.

There are some question marks regarding whether the 29-year-old will be able to fully regain the speed and explosiveness he once had after such a significant injury, but he believes his style of play would be an ideal fit for Team USA:

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"I feel like I'm the perfect player that can match [the type] of point guard they need. Someone who defends, runs the team; I'm not looking to score or shoot all the time. I just want to get guys involved. There's nothing better than being able to come back with a gold medal. That's something I would love to have on my resume."

Wall hasn't enjoyed a great deal of success during his NBA career in terms of wins and losses and going on playoff runs, but winning Olympic gold would be similar to winning a championship.

It would be a big resume-booster for a player known more for individual success than the success of the teams he has played on. Wall is a five-time All-Star and owns career averages of 19.0 points, 9.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game.

Washington has only reached the playoffs four times in his 10 NBA seasons, however, and the Wiz have never advanced past the second round.

Featuring on a gold-medal squad could be Wall's way of proving he can be a key cog on a contender, but he figures to have a ton of competition to even make the team.

In terms of point guards, Wall may have to vie with the likes of Damian Lillard, Trae Young, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, De'Aaron Fox and Ja Morant, to name a few.