NBA All-Star Weekend: Wizards' John Wall gets his first taste of all-star festivities
Saturday, February 19, 2011; 2:00 AM
LOS ANGELES - John Wall couldn't travel 2,300 miles without doing it - not when he made his informal introduction to the NBA by bopping, dipping and flailing his arms about, and especially not when the league invited the rap group Cali Swag District to perform its hit single, "Teach Me How To Dougie," at halftime of the Rookie Challenge on Friday during All-Star Weekend.
On the night he arrived in the city where he trained before the Washington Wizards drafted him No. 1 overall, Wall was presented a challenge by Orlando Magic all-star center Dwight Howard at the celebrity pool tournament hosted by Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. Howard dared anyone to get on the stage and show who could do the best rendition of the popular dance, the Dougie.
Boston Celtics reserve Glen "Big Baby" Davis joined Wall and several others in a Dougie dance-off, and Wall was fairly confident about who came away the winner.
"I think I did," Wall said, having already learned from his Dougie battle with R&B singer Chris Brown at a New Year's Eve party.
Wall said he's "not really a party guy," but it is really difficult for someone to attend NBA all-star festivities without getting caught up in some of the ancillary pleasures.
Still, Wall had plenty of energy left for Friday night's Rookie Challenge, as he scored 12 points, racked up 22 assists - breaking Chris Paul's record of 17 in the event - did the Dougie three times and was named most valuable player of his team's 148-140 win over the sophomores.
In addition to becoming the eighth player in franchise history - and first since Jarvis Hayes in 2004 - to represent the Wizards in the annual showcase of up-and-coming talent, Wall was voted to compete in the Skills Challenge on Saturday against Paul of New Orleans, Chicago's Derrick Rose, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook and Golden State's Stephen Curry. Teammate JaVale McGee also asked Wall to assist him in the slam-dunk contest.
Wall had a busy week planned, but he admitted he needed this experience after having to endure a difficult rookie campaign in which he has played through a series of nagging injuries to his foot and knees, and his team lost its first 25 road games. Wall plans to take advantage of being around the world's best players, meeting celebrities and hanging around former Kentucky teammates DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe once again.
"It's like a vacation," Wall said. "It's a big relief, also at the same time, you're trying to produce, get better and enjoy your time here. Win or lose, no matter what I'm going to be here to have fun and have a little break."
Wall returned to Washington after the Wizards ended the first half of the season with a blowout loss in Orlando, then quickly turned around and caught a flight for what he hopes will be the first of many All-Star Weekends. He slept on the plane, checked into his hotel, changed clothes and made the rounds through the NBA Entertainment Circuit, sitting down for a radio and television interviews, taking photographs, filming promotional videos and later sitting down to do a rookie roundtable for NBA TV with Los Angeles Clippers all-star forward Blake Griffin, New York Knicks guard Landry Fields and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Wes Johnson.
During the roundtable, Wall revealed some interesting details about his rookie season. He said he felt like he had arrived when he recorded a triple-double against Philadelphia in his "Dougie"-inspired home opener. After Griffin talked about how he had to get Krispy Kreme donuts for this teammates every morning, Wall said he has yet to receive any sort of rookie hazing. After Fields talked about how he has a hard time sleeping on planes, Wall said, "You can't? It's over for me. I sleep too much."
And, he also talked about the nerves he felt when he made his NBA debut against Howard and the Magic on TNT.