Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, who grew up in Raleigh, N.C., is a Dallas Cowboys fan because his mom is a Cowboys fan.
“People aren’t going to like me because of that,” Wall told former Post reporter Michael Lee, with a laugh, after he was drafted in 2010. “I got to stay with the Cowboys because I can’t switch teams, but I’m going to support D.C. no matter what. I’m in between. I’ll be cheering for both of them, but I won’t let anybody know.”
Wall let everyone know who he was rooting for Sunday by wearing an Emmitt Smith throwback jersey to the Redskins-Cowboys game at FedEx Field, a decision that drew the ire of some Wizards fans who considered the display of support for a D.C. rival — even one in a different sport — disrespectful. During an appearance with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan, Wizards Coach Scott Brooks defended his all-star point guard’s love for D.C., if not the Redskins, and offered a possible solution to get Wall back in the good graces of those fans who felt insulted.
“I’ve been in a lot of NBA locker rooms,” Brooks said. “As a player, I played for over a decade, I’ve coached for over a decade. And the one thing about NBA locker [rooms] is there’s so much trash-talking going on about whose football team do you support. And all these guys have their hometown teams or their childhood teams growing up. I understand John is a Cowboys fan, but the thing I love about John — he’s in the community here. You can go back in his history of being a Wizard, he’s done a lot of community work here, and that’s what it’s about. We love what we do, we have a great platform, but we also have an obligation and a privilege to give back to the community. You know, maybe I should pass out Redskins jerseys the first day of training camp.”
It’s a better idea than passing out Spurs jerseys, anyhow.
Wall already has a custom Redskins jersey, which he’s worn to FedEx Field before, but Wizards teammate Markieff Morris — a Cowboys fan from Philadelphia who also attended Sunday’s game to root on Dallas — could probably use one.
The real concern for fans who care about which NFL team Wizards players support should be the loss of Jared Dudley in free agency. The veteran forward, who signed with the Phoenix Suns in July, is among the biggest Cowboys-haters in the NBA. As a guest on J.J. Redick’s Yahoo Sports podcast, Dudley went so far as to call the Cowboys his “most overrated thing.”
“I was thinking hard about this, let me tell you why,” Dudley said. “For one, when I played on the Clippers with you, you had DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul — huge Cowboys fans. You look in the NBA, you have LeBron James. It’s America’s Team. That’s what they say. America’s Team, where it hasn’t won a championship in over 20 years. I think it’s the most overrated organization in all of sports. And the reason why I’m going to say this is because, usually when you grow up you support your home team, usually growing up. I would say the Cowboy organization has more fans that are not from Dallas.”
The Wizards’ roster is a testament to that, and that’s okay. At least there appears to be hope for Wizards acquisition Ian Mahinmi.