John Wall’s $80 million contract extension doesn’t kick in for another year, but he already has the means to get just about any material item that he desires. So, when Christmas comes around, Wall never expects to find much, if anything, under the tree — and he’s okay with that.
When asked what he wants on Wednesday, Wall said, “Just to see my family. That’s the big thing for me. Have fun, put a smile on their face and let them have fun. My job is to help them out and get them the presents they want and enjoy. If I get to see them, I’m happy enough with that, because I don’t get to see them throughout the season.”
With the long delay between games, the Wizards will have a chance to spend time with family and get some rest before taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday at Target Center.
Bradley Beal will be away from his family in St. Louis for Christmas for the first time as he stays behind in Washington to rehab and get treatment for the stress injury in his right fibula. He already gave presents to his brothers, Brandon and Bruce, to disperse to family members back home, but he isn’t looking to get much in return.
“I’m Santa Claus now. I got to give all the gifts out. I always tell people no, because if I wanted something I can probably go get it. I’m not really a big fan of receiving gifts,” Beal said. “My parents don’t get me nothing no more. I’m definitely not expecting nothing.”
Trevor Ariza is expecting to have family and friends to join him in Washington for the holiday, but he doesn’t want any presents, either. “I’m not a gift person. I don’t like gifts. I don’t like surprises. Anything like that,” Ariza said. “If somebody wants to get me something…I’ve always been like that. Even when I was a little kid, I hated surprises. When you’re not used to getting gifts from young, it don’t matter no more.”
Ariza said the last time he really looked forward to a Christmas present was in 1996, when he got a pair of Grant Hill Fila sneakers. “Both my little brothers got some Jordans and I got Grant Hills. Which was cool, because I liked Grant at the time,” Ariza said, while admitting that he missed out on getting the classic, patent leather Jordans.
“They were the 11s, the Concords,”Ariza said, shaking his head.
He doesn’t ask for much these days. “What do I get?” Ariza said. “I get to spend time with my family. I get to see my kids. My lady, whoever flies into town. So that’s more than enough for me.”
Wall actually got his gift giving started early on Monday, when he hosted a dinner at Clyde’s for three families — one that lost its home in a fire, another that lost a father and husband unexpectedly, and another that that has child awaiting cleft palate surgery. After the meal, Wall provided them with presents.
“Sometimes those less fortunate don’t have a chance to have a Christmas, so you just want to help those guys out, let them have fun and enjoy themselves,” he said.
Beal remembers getting a scooter when he was about 10 and Wall recalled getting an X-Box when he was in high school, but most of the Christmas gifts have been forgotten. Wall said his mother gave him a card and a shirt last year, but he is actually seeking a different kind of present from the league office in the near future.
“Hopefully one day, I’ll get to play on Christmas Day. That’d be big excitement for me,” Wall said.
The Wizards haven’t played on Christmas — a day set aside for the top teams and players — since losing to the Cavaliers in 2008 and have been on the wrong side of relevance ever since. Beal said he would also like to play on a day when the whole basketball world is taking notice. “That would be pretty cool. Just knowing the history and how everybody would be watching those games. That’ll be a pretty fun experience. Hopefully we’ll get that opportunity down the line.”