Rockets' John Wall: 'It Was Difficult' to Play Without Wizards Fans in DC Return

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 16, 2021

Houston Rockets guard John Wall (1) shoots against Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Houston Rockets guard John Wall would have preferred to play in front of fans during his return to the nation's capital.  

"It was difficult," he told reporters following Houston's 131-119 loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday. "I played for the fans, and I played for the city."

Wall also said he will buy tickets for people who were part of his experience with the Wizards the next time he returns, including some for stadium employees who no longer work for the team.

While injuries derailed the end of the point guard's tenure with the Wizards, he will always hold a memorable place in the franchise's history.

Washington selected him out of Kentucky with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 NBA draft, and he quickly became the franchise cornerstone. Wall was a five-time All-Star who led the Wizards to the playoffs four times as someone with the explosiveness to blow past almost any defender in the open floor and the versatility to anchor the perimeter defense and set up his teammates.

There were plenty of memorable moments, and the team remembered some with a video ahead of Monday's game:

Washington Wizards @WashWizards

Welcome back, @JohnWall! ♥2️⃣ https://t.co/HybvdlqI0S

Wall's time with the Wizards came to an end after he underwent season-ending surgery in December 2018 for a left heel injury and then missed the 2019-20 campaign because of a ruptured Achilles.

Washington traded him to Houston this past offseason in the deal that brought back Russell Westbrook.

Both played well Monday with Westbrook notching a triple-double of 16 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds while Wall posted a double-double of 29 points and 11 assists. Westbrook's Wizards earned the victory and improved to 8-17, and Wall's Rockets fell to 11-16.

Houston has lost six in a row.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.