Not long after, Wall posted a photo of a tattoo on his back and neck that paid tribute to his mother. The tattoo featured a picture of Pulley with “dear mama” flanking the image.
On Friday, Wall posted another photo, this one of him and his mother with the caption “Love ya!!” preceded by a broken heart emoji.
“Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley,” the Wizards tweeted Friday. “She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily.”
When Wall was 9, his father, John Sr., died of liver cancer. As a single mother, Pulley worked multiple jobs to help raise her children. The bond between Pulley and Wall ran deep and was evident whenever the five-time all-star talked about her.
During a 2013 news conference announcing his five-year, $80 million contract extension with the Wizards, Wall broke down in tears reflecting on his mother’s importance.
“Losing my dad at 9, it made my mom become a woman that I don’t think so many women can do in this world, working three or four jobs and having six sisters and two brothers,” Wall said. “[I] just had to work extra hard. I had to become a man quicker than I wanted to.”
Wall explained after the news conference why he became so emotional.
“It was like a breathtaking moment, seeing my mom and seeing everything she worked for,” Wall told The Post. “I mean, I do this because I love the game of basketball and I love playing it, but you also do it for her, as a single parent and what she had to do to raise us and I feel I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity, especially, to take care of her for the rest of her life and do other things in the community.”
Wall’s work in the community is highlighted by the John Wall Family Foundation, an organization with which Pulley was closely involved.
Teammates, peers and colleagues of the 2010 first overall pick took the time to share their support via social media.
“My thoughts & prayers are with John Wall and his family — I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of your mother — Sending condolences on behalf of the entire @MSE family,” Wizards owner Ted Leonsis tweeted Friday.
Kentucky Coach John Calipari, who coached Wall during the point guard’s lone season with the Wildcats, tweeted his appreciation for Pulley on Friday.
When Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017, Pulley was on hand for the honors. Wall asked her to stand up to be recognized after he had thanked coaches, teammates, friends, fans and family.
“I just want to thank you,” Wall said before being overcome with emotion. “I just wanted to say thank you for being my mom."
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