When John Wall finds something to add to a conversation, he’s now comfortable enough to do so.
The Washington Wizards guard revealed Thursday on “The Vertical Podcast” why he has been speaking out on social and political issues in recent months. Wall in August advocated for peace and unity in the aftermath of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Va., and called on Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and other NFL superstars last month to use their voices in the fight against racism and for positive change. Wall’s recent outspokenness contrasts with how he behaved earlier in his career. So why the change?
“It’s always been important to want to say something,” Wall said. “But sometimes I think everybody has already got their point across, and there is no need to say something. I felt like it was time for me to say something.”
Wall has tattoos of images of Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X on his body, and their willingness to face the consequences of working for societal change has inspired him to do so, too.
“Those guys I put on my back are powerful people to me,” Wall said. “Some are the reasons I play sports, some are the reasons I do a lot of things. Because of what they believed in. Muhammad Ali, one of my favorite quotes (of his) is (paraphrasing), ‘Who is not crazy to take risks will never accomplish nothing in life, will never be nothing.’ That’s something I live by. Because even if you are a billionaire or somebody in another profession, you have to take risks to get there. If you don’t believe in taking risks and taking chances, you are never going to accomplish nothing in life. That’s what I take pride in.”
Now 27 and entering his eighth NBA season, Wall has come into his own as a basketball player and leader. How he bears the responsibility of those roles going forward is a story worth following, but we can expect him to tell it himself, now that he has found his voice.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images
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