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John Wall on why he returned to Adidas: ‘It’s a brand new start’

It was about a fresh start.

NBA: New York Knicks at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

When John Wall left Adidas, it felt like there was no turning back. He’d turned down a $66 million offer that, on the surface, seemed like it was a solid deal for the Wizards’ All-Star point guard. But things soured, and Wall walked away from the deal.

So when Wall signed a five-year deal to return to the brand he spurned two years ago, it turned a lot of heads. Wall had been in talks with plenty of brands in between their time apart and had almost exclusively worn Nike shoes while he was a free agent.

So why Adidas? According to Wall himself, there were a few reasons.

Wall wanted to bet on himself for a new deal, and it worked out

Early last summer, Wall explained to NBC Sports Washington that he was betting on himself to improve last season before signing a shoe deal.

“To me, I banked on myself to have a season like this. To be honest, I banked on myself. I just feel like somebody is gonna come,” Wall said. “If not, I will still be a sneaker free agent. I feel like with the way I’m playing, the type of image I have, the character I have, how I interact with the fans in the community, I think I’m the perfect guy for a signature shoe.”

How’d that bet turn out? Wall thinks he did just fine.

“I think it was great,” Wall told SB Nation. “People hear and say what they might see about a shoe deal, but they never see the real breakdown of a contract and understand incentives and those type of things in there. It wasn’t beneficial to me at the time.”

Like NBA contracts, when shoe deals are signed and numbers are reported, that is most often the number the player will be paid if all incentives are met. The original deal may have been worth $66 million had he hit certain incentives, but the base dollar amount didn’t seem to be enough for Wall. If that was the case, it made sense for him to walk away.

Well, if the numbers didn’t make sense, why’d he go back?

This time around, things were to his liking. Wall signed a five-year deal with the brand which gives him a bit more flexibility than an eight-year deal would. Plus, he got a new start with a new team to build his brand up again.

The team Wall worked with initially is gone, he said. There’s new management and new structure for him. With that, he said, he’s hoping for new opportunities.

“A lot of those guys that were there before have been laid off ... It’s a brand new start because it’s a whole new crew over there,” Wall said. “They have a lot of the same guys over there player-wise, but it’s just a new start.”

So will Wall have a signature shoe again?

Maybe? He’s been wearing the J Wall 1 in games since he re-signed with the brand, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything for a new shoe in the future. But Wall says there could be one coming, but he’ll have to work for it.

“You have to play yourself into a signature shoe,” he said.

Washington Wizards v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Wall is an All-Star and is one of the more prominent names on Adidas’ roster — it’d be hard to see him going too long without one. But he’ll probably be considered behind Kristaps Porzingis and Joel Embiid, who are also part of Adidas’ roster. But currently, the brand only has two prominent basketball signature-shoe athletes with James Harden and Damian Lillard, plus a third if we include Derrick Rose, but he isn’t the same name he used to be.

So there’s room for Wall on board. It’s only a matter of how his brand grows and what direction both sides want to take things in. He’s on board for five years, so they’ve got plenty of time to figure it out.