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John Wall arrives in D.C.

In one of the more absurd scenes I've ever been fortunate enough to cover, John Wall arrived at a red carpet outside Verizon Center Friday afternoon, surrounded by hundreds if not thousands of people, all of them trying to take cell phone photos and videos, many of them carrying hand-out glossies of Wall shaking David Stern's hand, and many of them wearing "Wall" t-shirts.

"Madness," said Ted Leonsis, who hugged Wall's mom and chatted briefly with the player. "He's a rock star."

"I felt like I was big-time," Wall said. "I never been on a red carpet before." Later, he compared it to arriving at the BET Awards.

Hundreds and hundreds of these people then headed to the practice court for a press conference with Flip Saunders, Ernie Grunfeld and Wall himself. The rhetoric was....it was a lot. Flip Saunders said something about how all point guards are delivered from heaven, and how he believes Wall was likewise "delivered from heaven." He said he believes Wall will be the best point guard he will ever coach.

Mayor Adrian Fenty was here, and while he had to leave early, he declared Friday John Wall Day in the District. Really.

There was a video, featuring Alex Ovechkin, Adam Dunn, Stephen Strasburg, Donovan McNabb and many others doing the John Wall Dance over the strains of Mambo Sauce's "Welcome to D.C." The words Game Changer were everywhere. Rapper Wale was in the crowd. I mean, the Nats ran away from Strasburg hype, but the Wizards are diving into it.

"This is a very important and special day for this organization," Grunfeld said. "This is a new era...and what better way to start a new era than by having a No. 1 pick....We found out that he has outstanding character, obviously his physical attributes are off the charts....He has a real competitive nature. Winning and losing is very important to him, and those are the kind of players we want to build this team with, players that care about winning and losing, and have pride, and have great character and a great work ethic."

"He's gonna be here for 10, 12 years...and he's gonna bring a lot of electricity to this building."

Unlike many press conferences, this one was filled with fans, who clapped and screamed and "uh-huh'd" his responses.

Honestly, it was insane. Oh, and Steve Buckhantz closed things by saying "Welcome to Wall Street." Pretty sure they haven't officially renamed it yet, but that's a good thought.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 25, 2010; 1:33 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: McNabb, Strasburg, Ovechkin welcome Wall to D.C.

Comments

I need to see that video NOW!!!!

Posted by: tsbrul1 | June 25, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

If Wall is delivered from heaven could he perhaps he is the reincarnation of John the Bapitist to keep with the religious tone and since we already have Jeezus Strasburg?

Posted by: aarseneault06 | June 25, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I forget -- did the Mayor declare June 8 as Stephen Strasburg Day?

Posted by: Cosmo06 | June 25, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

now the wizards just need to change their color scheme. whoever designed the uniforms and logo must have been drunk. honestly, i like blue, but blue-black-bronze is just...ugly. in any case, hopefully the wizards don't botch this up. this organization hasn't won more than 45 games in over 30 years. can you believe that??? it's true. all hype aside, john wall is only 19, and anything can happen. let's keep all this in perspective before we annoint him the basketball savior.

Posted by: swishjobs | June 25, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"John Wall is only 19, and anything can happen. Let's keep this all in perspective before we anoint him the basketball savior."
Well said. They better build a good team around him before they throw all that weight on his shoulders. Let him win a few games first. Then they can call him The Great Wall of China(town). Damn, I should have gotten a trademark for that.

Posted by: joeinva1 | June 25, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

What's with all the hype? Can't get to worked up about a guard focused team. Even his Airness needed his supporting cast. The Answer couldn't do it in philly and didn't DC just go thru this with the big tre. Let's see who else Ted can bring to town. But the change to red uniforms would be a good move.

Posted by: snake_taylor | June 25, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me?! A 19 yo college basketball player who has yet to score a single point in the NBA is being hyped to an extreme that would embaress Micheal Jordan. I know the Wizards are just trying to boost sales and interest but please. They have placed this kid on a pedistal where the only direction he can go is down.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | June 25, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"now the wizards just need to change their color scheme. whoever designed the uniforms and logo must have been drunk. honestly, i like blue, but blue-black-bronze is just...ugly. "

See Pollin, Abe for that one. He did it to the Caps, too. Luckilly Ted was able to fix that one. Hopefully he'll be able to fix the Wizards color scheme, and eventually the NAME.

Posted by: RojoJohnson | June 25, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

This all sounds awesome, but I'm a DC sports fan so I'm going to complain and moan and freak out and somehow contort myself so that I can turn this positive into a negative. I'm going to then yell about how the 20 minutes per day I spend surfing the web and reading basketball articles makes me an expert more than those people who do it for a living and make big bucks at it. Then I'm going to call for someone to be fired. Finally, I will then end my posting with a state-specific comment:
- If I'm from VA, I'll then blame Obama
- If I'm from MD, I'll say that the Caps are still better
- If I'm from DC, I'll mention that my thoughts and prayers go out to Wall's family
Then, I'll tell Steinberg that he's a hack and call it a day.

Posted by: Urnesto | June 25, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

This all sounds awesome, but I'm a DC sports fan so I'm going to complain and moan and freak out and somehow contort myself so that I can turn this positive into a negative. I'm going to then yell about how the 20 minutes per day I spend surfing the web and reading basketball articles makes me an expert more than those people who do it for a living and make big bucks at it. Then I'm going to call for someone to be fired. Finally, I will then end my posting with a state-specific comment:
- If I'm from VA, I'll then blame Obama
- If I'm from MD, I'll say that the Caps are still better
- If I'm from DC, I'll mention that my thoughts and prayers go out to Wall's family
Then, I'll tell Steinberg that he's a hack and call it a day.

Posted by: Urnesto | June 25, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Check out John Walls mix videos and you too will believe!

Posted by: upscalechef | June 25, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I was there, and I was a little unimpressed by the turnout honestly

Posted by: trolly_time | June 25, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

The only question that remains is whether Sprinkler Man will add the John Wall dance to his repertoire.

Posted by: mlewis222 | June 26, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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