Thursday’s event was clearly about him, but Washington Wizards point guard John Wall made sure the appropriate attention was given to the family members and friends who helped him earn a five-year contract extension worth roughly $80 million.
Wall wept as he spoke about his mother. He expressed his gratitude to Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, team president Ernie Grunfeld and Coach Randy Wittman because they “believed in me when everybody else didn’t.” And finally, Wall made a huge financial commitment to city that he hopes to call home through at least 2019.
The day after he signed the third-largest contract in franchise history, Wall announced that he would direct $1 million toward local charities, in conjunction with Leonsis’s Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation.
“It’s a humbling experience and great opportunity to sign this contract, but it’s not about just for me,” Wall said. “The main thing is giving back and giving back the right way. Giving back to these charities is a great opportunity.”
According to its Web site, the Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation is focused on donating to “five pillars” in the community: education and scholarship, hunger and homelessness, military and veterans’ affairs, pediatric health and fitness, and youth basketball and hockey. Wall said that he would select programs that align with areas that are important to him, but plans to do more than simply write a check.
“I want to donate my time along with the money,” Wall said. “My whole thing is I was put on this earth to be something, and I was blessed to be a great basketball player, but my main thing was to keep striving to be a better person. That’s one thing my mom always instilled in me, it doesn’t matter what nobody thinks about you as a basketball player, they are going to look at you as a person first.”
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