One day after calling the Wizards' situation “an abomination” and “a disgrace,” criticizing Coach Scott Brooks and ripping John Wall’s contract, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith had some more harsh words for Washington’s 2-8 NBA team.
“A catastrophe is in the making in Washington, in our nation’s capital, as it pertains to basketball,” Smith said Thursday on “First Take.”
" . . . The situation with John Wall is so bad I’m getting pictures of John Wall off the court, [where] people are seeing him. They’re bringing up Rosebar, one of the most popular nightclubs, if not the most popular nightclub, in Washington, D.C. They’re talking about off-field habits. John Wall, pay attention!”
Wall apparently was paying attention. The point guard got wind of Smith’s comments and shared a message for his critics during an Instagram Live session from Orlando, where the Wizards will take on the Magic on Friday.
“It’s a long season, everybody don’t start off great,” he said. “Keep being a fan, I’m gonna keep hooping. If you don’t like it, you can hike it. Facts!”
A commenter asked why Wall, who was chilling in a hot tub, wasn’t in the gym.
“I ain’t in the gym because I just left practice ‘bout an hour or two ago, so now I’m relaxing with my feet up,” Wall said. “But don’t tell the fans I said that. They think I’m supposed to stay in the gym all day.”
Later, Wall confirmed that he does frequent Rosebar and said he found a meme that’s circulated of him with the nightclub’s logo Photoshopped onto his Wizards jersey “funny.”
“I do go to Rosebar on Saturdays,” Wall said. “What, not supposed to party once in a blue while? The f---? Where you be at, Opera? Living Room?”
(Full disclosure: I initially interpreted the last part of the previous quote as Wall taking a shot at fans who like to relax at the opera or in their living rooms. Then it dawned on me that these are the names of other, apparently inferior, nightclubs in D.C. I get out a lot.)
The Wizards' defense isn’t the worst in the league because of Wall’s clubbing habits, but this isn’t the first time this year he has defended how he spends his time away from the court.
“You got a 9-5, what you do after your 9-5?” he said before the season. “You not about to sit in the house all day are you? I’m a grown man and I can do what I want to. I know what I do and bring to the table, and that’s 110 percent effort. I know how hard I work on my game and I’m going to enjoy my life. I’m not about to sit at home and be boring.”
I look forward to Wall and Smith co-hosting a future event at Rosebar, which couldn’t buy the publicity it received Thursday.
“I think I’ve been to the Rosebar once, but I’m not sure, but I know it’s the hottest nightclub in D.C. I will tell you this, I’m going,” Smith said on “First Take.” “I’m not apologizing for that, but that’s a different subject for another day. I don’t have to play in front of the Wizards [fans], I’m not getting paid over $30 million and I’m not scheduled to make $46.9 million in the last year of my contract four years from now."
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