John Wall spent last summer sharpening his acting skills and raising his profile in a skit with comedian Jack Black for Jimmy Kimmel Live and in a Best Buy commercial for Beats by Dre headphones. But Wall either needs to improve as a thespian on the basketball court or stop trying altogether after he became the first player to receive a warning from the NBA for flopping this season.
Late in the fourth quarter of the Wizards’ 113-102 season-opening loss to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, Wall attempted to dupe officials into calling a foul by taking a dive during a last-ditch rally in the final minutes.
With the Wizards trailing 105-98, Bradley Beal had just flipped a loose ball out ahead to Wall, who quickly got out on the run. Wall spotted Pistons forward Kyle Singler trailing to his right and tried to collect some quick, easy points with Detroit in the penalty. He ran diagonally into Singler’s running lane and caused a collision.
Singler kept running, but Wall threw up his arms and fell to the ground. When referees held their whistles, Wall then scrambled to recover the ball while angrily looking around for a call.
The NBA began to penalize flopping last season. After the initial warning, players are fined $5,000. Repeated flopping offenses would result in escalating fines up to $30,000. Six or more flopping penalties could result in a suspension.
As for his latest commercial, Wall explained that it came together through his Los Angeles-based agent, Dan Fegan, who heads the basketball division of Relativity Sports. Wall said he filmed it last month, taking a break from a voluntary mini-camp at Verizon Center to fly back to Los Angeles for a six-hour shoot. He then turned around and flew right back to work out with his teammates.
In the commercial, Wall takes off a pair of the headphones, shakes his head and says, “Woof.” He later smiles and dances to the Lady Gaga and R. Kelly song, “Do What U Want,” and then angrily glares at a mimicking Best Buy clerk. When asked why he couldn’t get some significant speaking lines, Wall said, “They didn’t want me to say too much. They just wanted to show off the headphones.”
Wall also said he had no intention showing off his well-known dance moves. “I didn’t want to, they wanted me to. I wanted to stand there and just laugh.”