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For Wizards rookie John Wall, growth not limited to the basketball court
Pulley wanted to stay in North Carolina to be near her youngest daughter, Cierra, who is attending college there. But Pulley has been a regular presence at Verizon Center. She has also joined her son for road games in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Charlotte, among other places.
"I want her to be a part of it, because she had two to three jobs, sacrificing a lot," Wall said. "I always wanted the top-notch shoes, the Jordans, and she would always find a way to get it for me. Everything I basically do, I do for her. I got her a house, got her a car and she's satisfied. She never would ask for anything, but she did everything for me. I don't want to tour the White House until my mom can."
Wall spent a year away from home during his freshman year at Kentucky, but it was a much more sheltered and structured environment, with classes and practices dominating his schedule and most of his meals provided by the university. There, his teammates were heading back to the same athletic dormitories, rather than going their separate ways after practice, as it is now with the Wizards.
His mother drove 14 hours to Lexington to see a few games, but she is thankful that her son is now close enough that she can make the four-hour drive whenever she's needed. "That was a blessing right there," she said.
'I got to work on my diet'
On a recent afternoon, Pulley prepared some of Wall's favorite foods, which included shrimp, spaghetti, corn and sweet tea. To make sure he doesn't ingest a strictly junk food or fast food diet, Pulley usually cooks two or three meals when she visits.
The problem comes when mom's cooking runs out.
Wall opened his pantry door to display bags of Doritos and Funyuns and boxes of oatmeal cream pies, Honey Buns and Cinnamon Toast Crunch bars, which he sometimes packs with him on road trips. "I got all the snacks. All I do is eat snacks," Wall said, before revealing more junk food options in his freezer and refrigerator. "I don't eat vegetables. My mom got to make those."
Wall rubbed his stomach, "I weigh a lot more than when I got here. I got to work on my diet."
Wall said he has considered hiring a personal chef but for now, his mother has assumed that role. When she is not around, Wall and Williams can be spotted eating at Legal Seafood or getting takeout from P.F. Chang's.
Wall hasn't had much time to explore the sights of the nation's capital. He and Williams walked from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument when he was preparing for summer league, but he admittedly hasn't gotten too familiar with the area. When asked if he had visited Dupont Circle, Wall responded, "What's that?"
He essentially heads to Verizon Center for practice and back home, where he spends most afternoons playing Madden NFL 11 and NBA 2K11 with Williams. A few teammates have stopped by to play him, and his former Kentucky teammate DeMarcus Cousins came over when the Sacramento Kings visited last month. He sometimes plays friends, such as Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe, online.
As Wall and Williams played Madden recently they also had two computers resting in front of them, alternating their attention between the big-screen television and the laptops to check their Twitter accounts.