At this point, my stance on John Wall has been documented for almost a month. Back in November, I wrote “He is that new band that nobody really knows about, and soon enough he’s going to be at the epicenter of the basketball universe.” And now, he is. That’s why he’s leading an NBA column. Because everyone that loves basketball can’t help but love John Wall. And that means that try as they might to ignore college hoops, even NBA purists are talking about Wall.
Less than a month into his career, he’s already a phenomenon in basketball circles; it’s only a matter of time before we start tracking which teams have the best shot at drafting Wall and wondering aloud whether [insert crappy team] should think about tanking the second half of the season to draft him. And like any full-fledged phenomenon, at least half this stuff is myth.
Second-hand anecdotes and quick, 90-second highlight clips have put this 19-year old kid alongside Tiger Woods, Peter Gammons, the BCS, and everything else that has sports fans chattering right now. It’s tempting to bemoan the way the basketball’s world has suddenly annointed him the messiah. What’s remarkable, though, is how Wall delivers on the hype. His games only enhance the myth, and that’s pretty damn rare. It reminds me of the way people embraced Obama after hearing one of his speeches in person. Watch John Wall for an entire college basketball game, as I did last week when I traveled to Kentucky, and you’ll come away gushing just like the rest of ’em.
So with that, a plea: Can someone at ESPN or CBS Sports make sure that every single Kentucky game get puts on national TV for the rest of the season? Kind of like how all of the networks agree to broadcast the State of the Union every year. Not because it makes money, but… just for the greater good. We don’t need every single network broadcasting Kentucky basketball, but man, would anyone object to more John Wall on national TV? Every sports fan I know tuned in when Kentucky played UCONN Wednesday night; let’s make this a weekly ritual. For the greater good of sports fans, ya know?
On that note, let’s see what the rest of the basketball world’s talking about…