The fans and John Wall
It really doesn't matter if the Wizards have the first 15 picks in the draft; this event is at Madison Square Garden, and so it's about the Knicks. It's about fake LeBron Knicks jerseys, and Knicks yarmulkahs, and handmade Knicks signs, and Knicks fans chanting "USA" and blowing on vuvuzelas (really) and telling me I look like Jon Barry.
But that doesn't mean there weren't at least a few Wizards fans scattered throughout Madison Square Garden. They were here, and they were ebullient, whether wearing old-school Wes Unseld attire or possibly-soon-to-be-equally-outdated Gilbert Arenas jerseys.
The mass of the crowd was not interested in the Wizards' pick, chanting "Kwa-me Brown-nnn, Kwa-me Brown-nnn" when the Wizards were on the clock. But when the pick was made, there were at least three or four pockets of mostly youngish Wizards fans who stood and raised their arms in triumph.
(And also a whole heck of a lot of Kentucky fans, but we don't care about them much, do we?)
"It's the first time in two decades I can actually root for a Washington basketball team," said Adam Bieber, perhaps overwhelmed by the moment. "Twenty-three years of being depressed. Gugliotta. Webber. Strickland. Kwame Brown."
"Tyrone Nesby!" shouted out one of his friends.
"Popeye Jones!" shouted another.
"This is gonna work this time, they're actually going to rebuild, and we're going to do it the right way," Bieber continued. "You can say you're a Wizards fan and people don't laugh in your face."
Wall was considerably less....well, he was on stage, not in the balcony. He was asked what was more important for the franchise, winning games or rejuvenating the fan base.
"I thought it was going to be the fan base, but I feel like if you support them in their city, they are going to be there," he said. "The main thing is being on the court and learning so much. It's a different game and a different speed, and I've been grinding hard this whole summer, waiting and preparing for it."
The fans, though, weren't waiting.
"We were screaming, going nuts," said Bob Derouin, a Wizards fan from Alexandria wearing all Bullets gear. (This is a trend, no? Half the Wizards fans here are wearing Bullets shirts.) "It's a start," he continued. "I don't think it's a LeBron James start, but it's a start, it's a step in the right direction."
"It's the beginning of a legacy," maintained Jeffrey Bieber, Adam's brother. "John Wall's gonna change Washington D.C. basketball. John Wall's the truth."
"Only John Wall can make two goofy Jewish kids from Chevy Chase dance like this," Adam said, as they performed the John Wall Dance.
"This is literally the best moment of your life," someone else shouted at Bieber. He didn't disagree.
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