John Wall's uniform preferences: 3 and 15?
Since the Wizards won the lottery, fans put 2 and 9 together and realized that Wall's collegiate number -- 11 -- was retired by the Bullets/Wizards, in honor of Elvin Hayes. He's been asked about that issue at least five times in the past 24 hours, and the answer is gradually getting clearer.
"I'm thinking I'm probably gonna decide on that today or later on tomorrow," Wall said during his press conference Friday afternoon.
After the event, when chatting with print reporters, Wall said he's also worn 15, 40, 3 and 1 at various points in his career.
"I wore a lot of numbers so I have to decide something and figure it out pretty soon," he said.
John Feinstein argued forcefully this week that Wall should not acquire Hayes's number, even with the legend's permission. Quoting:
If Hayes makes some kind of money deal with Wall to use the number it will be smarmy and gross. If he graciously says, 'go ahead and wear it,' it will be less so but still wrong. Wall should establish his own identity and find a different number. It isn't as if he's worn number 11 for 15 years someplace and is attached to it that way. He wore it for one year at Kentucky and (I assume) for a couple years in high school. Move on.
Still, I asked if there were any chance at 11.
"I think it's gonna be tough," Wall said. "Nobody ever got somebody's jersey un-retired and wore it. I don't think it's gonna work."
Dan Shanoff, meantime, laid out a persuasive and fairly ingenious argument for why Wall should choose No. 44, both for its originality and for its obvious current D.C. connections. Quoting:
It becomes a sly tribute to No. 44 in the White House -- the hoops-loving president -- getting work done a few blocks away from where Wall will do his own work. It evokes leadership (something Wall has talked constantly about) and a zeitgeisty D.C. vibe.
So I asked Wall about that number, too.
"I don't know, that's too high of a number," he said. "They're probably gonna think I'm a running back or something."
So the current clubhouse leaders?
"I like 15, I like that one a lot," he said. "I like the 3. Not too many numbers. I'm used to wearing number 11. [But] I have to change it up. It won't be too bad."
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