The day before he suited up for yet another Goodman League charity exhibition game, John Wall was back at Big Blue Madness in Lexington, Ky., with several other Kentucky stars, including Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins and Tayshaun Prince. Wall didn’t start another YouTube dancing craze, but he did leave an impression with an enthusiastic welcome from fans and T-shirt that read, “All Cats Every Thing.”
“It was great,” Wall said of being back on campus in Lexington, where the Wildcats are expected to be among the favorites to win the national title in the upcoming season. “They got a talented team and hopefully they can win a championship.”
Since the NBA has been taken away from him for the time being, Wall has had to find other ways to occupy his time. He recently left Los Angeles and is alternating between Washington and Lexington, where he has accepted Kentucky Coach John Calipari’s invitation to train during the lockout.
“You get tired of being in the same place, going against the same people. They start figuring your game out. You have to switch it up and move from it,” Wall said of his decision to leave Los Angeles, where has spent most of his summer training at 360 Health Club in Reseda, Calif.
After scoring 38 points in the Goodman League’s 172-169 loss to Team Philly on Saturday at Coolidge High, Wall said he has also enrolled in two online classes to counter his occasional boredom.
“I think the lockout has really given me the opportunity to go back to school … to get closer to my degree. I’m developing, studying and working on my game,” said Wall, who is pursuing a degree in business management. “It’s not too bad. Aint no practice, so I work out in the morning and I’ve got the rest of the day to myself. It’s just video games and homework.”
Wall supports the union in its fight to get a favorable deal in the next collective bargaining agreement and has taken an amplified interest since it will greatly affect his career earning potential. “I think it’s really for the young guys. You’ve got to be the ones that’s ready to stick,” he said. “It’s a whole lot to talk about. A hard cap, an extra two years on the rookie contract. Those are things that a lot of people and fans don’t understand.”
The NBA has eliminated the first two weeks of the regular season, and Commissioner David Stern has threatened to wipe out more games if progress isn’t made soon. Wall is unwilling to accept 50-50 split with the owners on basketball-related income. The players have already come down from the 57 percent they received in the previous deal. “We at 53 percent. That’s the number we stand at,” Wall said. “It’s 53 percent with a good system.”
The NBA and its players’ union will meet with a mediator on Tuesday and Wall wants the situation resolved so that he can get back to Washington full-time and finally put on his new red, white and blue uniform again. “I hope we get somewhere near done. I’m hoping that after the two weeks that we miss, we can get back to playing basketball.”