If it’s a day ending in “y,” there’s a good chance ESPN’s Colin Cowherd will talk about John Wall and that time the Wizards point guard did the Dougie in 2010. Friday was such a day.
Cowherd, who earlier this month said he’d choose to build a franchise around Jimmy Butler over Wall, began talking about some of the great teams in NBA history and the common bond they shared.
“We all look at the NBA as a talent league,” Cowherd said. “It’s really talent plus brains.”
That observation, coupled with the news that Wall and a group of his friends were escorted off a plane in Las Vegas on Tuesday following a verbal altercation between one of the player’s friends and an unnamed passenger, served as the jumping off point for 10 minutes of Wall criticism. (The Wizards and Wall had no comment about the altercation.)
“That’s why I’m very critical when it comes to quarterbacks and point guards, especially points guards in the NBA,” Cowherd said. “Are you a smart guy? Kyrie Irving is really smart. Flawed, but smart. John Wall, talented, I don’t think he’s the smartest kid on the block. I think he’s got poor judgment. And yesterday, what do you know, John Wall was kicked off a plane in Vegas after somebody in his ‘group’ threatened another passenger and the pilot said I’m not taking off, get these clowns off the plane. ‘Well it’s not John’s fault!’ You are the company you keep. Smart guys hang out with smart guys. Funny people hang out with funny people. Libs with Libs, Republicans-Republicans, cute girls with cute girls, dopes with dopes.
“Once again, John Wall – drip, drip, drip – it doesn’t mean he’s the devil. It doesn’t mean Colin Kaepernick’s the devil. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have talent. John Wall, college games, gang signs during games. The Dougie. Stupid. Turnover machine – that’s a judgment stat. Paul Pierce calling him out, needs to work harder. Thrown off a plane, hanging with dopes. Poor judgment, poor choices. You can look at his stats. His field goal percentage and his turnovers are [bad], those are judgment statistics. Do you take good or bad shots? John Wall takes a lot of bad shots. Turnovers? Poor judgment. A lot of turnovers. It’s what he is! By the way, the problem is, because he’s so darn talented, we think he’s a leader, and as Brad Daugherty told us yesterday, it doesn’t work that way.”
At this point, Cowherd plays a clip of Daugherty saying that GMs and coaches usually expect their superstars to lead, even though many of them aren’t natural leaders.
“Just because you’re the most talented doesn’t mean you’re the best leader,” Cowherd continued. “Rasheed Wallace was the most talented guy I ever covered. He’s not a leader. That Trail Blazers team I covered – all sorts of great talent. No leaders. They didn’t have a leader. Scottie Pippen in the end was not a great leader. He was a great talent. And so, this whole thing about John Wall, it’s not the end of the world. I think John Wall’s a great player, but all his pom-pom waving, cheerleader outfit-wearing, sycophant fan boys, they’re like ‘You’re wrong.’
“John Wall has been in this league five years. Five years. He has not won a second-round playoff series in the dog-vomit Eastern Conference. And Paul Pierce now doesn’t want to play with him. He’s a hell of a talent, so is Colin Kaepernick. But it’s like fan boy after fan boy…five years in this league, in the Eastern Conference, they’re not even viable. The East is embarrassingly bad. I mean, the Cavs are all beat up – [Anderson] Varejao out, [Kevin] Love out, Kyrie hurt – flushed through the Hawks in four games. Can’t win a second-round playoff game. Wouldn’t even be a playoff team in the West. It’s not that John Wall’s a bad guy, he’s not a horrible human. He’s a great player. He gives to charity, but he’s immature, and one of the things I’ve found, here’s what’s the funny thing about maturity: Guys who aren’t mature…can’t spot immaturity. Like, immature guy doesn’t see what immaturity is when he’s doing it.
“John Wall is what John Wall is. Gang signs in games, pro and college. That dumb Dougie. Doesn’t always put the time in according to Paul Pierce, but he gets kicks off playing with his entourage. It’s not that he’s a bad guy, he’s not a horrible human being. He needs to grow up! You don’t see John Stockton doing that and Magic Johnson involved in that. For the record, you are the company you keep. They say that you are the average of your five best friends. So look around, if you’re five best friends are corrupt, you’re corrupt. If you’re five best friends are smart, you’re probably smart. If you’re five best friends are in great relationships and are good dads, you probably value that. That’s what’s important to you. So if you hang around integrous people, likable people, you are your five best friends. So if you’re hanging around guys – I’m 50 years old, none of my buddies get kicked off airplanes – grow up. It’s not the end of the world, but it shows a pattern of what he is.
“And I got into a discussion with somebody the other day – a power broker in the NBA – I would say the second-most powerful person in the NBA, doesn’t work for this network. Second-most powerful person in the NBA, he may not even know he’s that powerful. Let me say third [-most powerful person in the NBA]. Adam Silver’s one, LeBron’s two, he’s three. And I mentioned John Wall. He just laughed. He’s a great kid, but, you know. [No] championships. Stars don’t want to play with him. But again, young people will defend him to the end. Go ahead! It’s not the end of the world, but you know, what I find funny is, most young people think it’s all about just playing ball, man. It’s not. It is about judgment, choices, who you surround yourself with. There’s a reason guys want to play with LeBron. He’s smart. He’s a smart guy. Guys wanted to play with Magic. He’s smart. Did you ever notice who Derek Fisher’s buddies were? It’s all the smart, great players in the league. You’re going to see with John Wall, everybody thinks [Kevin] Durant’s going to go play with him. No he’s not. He doesn’t want to put his career in the hands of John Wall. No way. He’s already got John Wall; it’s Russell Westbrook. That’s not working out. I mean, seriously. Westbrook’s a huge talent, but I wouldn’t build my franchise around Russell Westbrook either.”
Jimmy Butler on the other hand…
Cowherd returned to Wall later in the show. (He’s probably still talking about him now, but at some point a bunch of criticism bookended by “but he’s not a horrible human” all begins to sound the same.)
“I get a lot of heat because I’m critical of John Wall, though I will also admit I also compliment him,” Cowherd said. “The people who defend him never criticize him. At least I’m fair. I compliment him on his greatness, which he is really brilliant, and then I criticize him. His blogosphere and his fan boys, they never criticize him, but it’s all bon mots and it’s all roses and bouquets and birds chirping and rainbows.”
Listening to Cowherd talk about John Wall is none of those things. Enjoy your weekend.