On Monday night, the Wizards hosted a Special Olympics basketball game on the practice court at Verizon Center. The matchup between the two teams of Special Olympians was refereed by John Wall and Cartier Martin, and coached by Martell Webster, Garrett Temple, Chris Singleton, and Trevor Booker, and it became clear very quickly that these six Wizards players were going to be taking this game very seriously.
Webster immediately made his presence known by playfully arguing with Wall after the teams were announced. Wall handed Webster a technical before the game even started, and the tone was set.
Webster spent the game on his feet cheering, arguing calls and rallying his players. He alternated between screeching and jumping around the court. He broke out dance moves when he was excited and motivated his team in frequent huddles. More than once, Wall had to warn him to sit down and twice threatened Webster with additional technicals.
Despite keeping everyone entertained, Webster’s Wizards teammates had a few words to say about his coaching.
“Awful. Awful,” Martin told me during a break in the action. “Martell needs to stick to playing basketball.”
Webster heard his teammates criticizing his skills, and defended his style.
“It’s aggressive. I just have an aggressive coaching style,” he told me. “I want to make sure that I’m remembered for decades to come. “
Booker had a different word to describe Webster’s coaching style.
“It was turrible,” he said. “Like Charles Barkley would say. Turrible.”
In the end, the team coached by Singleton and Booker won, 33-32. But the score wasn’t the most important part of the experience for anyone.
“It has a different meaning for everybody, but for me it was about coming out here and enjoying it and experiencing it,” said Webster. “For one, this is my job. It’s what I do for a living. And seeing it in a different aspect, these guys coming out here and displaying their talent, and then being very emotionally connected to each other, and just to the experience. It was amazing. You’d have thought we were coaching a Final Four game.”
“Just coming out here and being able to put smiles on their faces is great,” he said. “And they put smiles on our faces as well. They don’t know how much it means to us.”
Here is a video compilation of Webster’s entertaining coaching style: