These days, John Wall feels so robust that he completes 40-mile bike rides around the Washington area. As the spokes spin, his mind wanders to the Ward 8 neighborhood in Southeast, which his Wizards have called home for the past two seasons.

The economic impact from novel coronavirus-related closures has been felt across the city. But in Ward 8, where nearly 31 percent of families live under the poverty line, the loss of paychecks can cripple many. On Tuesday, Wall explained why his foundation has partnered with the city in launching the “202 Assist” program to help with rent assistance for families experiencing hardship during the pandemic.

“This is a big reason I wanted to do 202 Assist,” Wall said during a video conference call with reporters, “because I understand what they’re going through. Understand you’re not in this fight alone.”

Wall, who grew up impoverished in a single-parent household, is seeking the public’s help in reaching a $300,000 donation goal. After June 22, the final day for donations, “hundreds” of residents in Ward 8 will receive rent relief, according to a news release about the effort. The John Wall Family Foundation will team up with the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, Lydia’s House and Housing Counseling Services to identify qualifying families.

Since the team moved its practice courts to Entertainment and Sports Arena in 2018, Wall and several other Wizards players have captained charitable efforts in Congress Heights. In November, Wall and Bradley Beal gave away 1,000 turkeys near the practice facility. Also, before the team’s move, Wall donated $25,000 for a new playground in Ward 8.

“It’s a down area that a lot of people probably don’t want to go over there by, be near or talk about as much because of what goes on over there,” Wall said. “But I think when we put our team over there … just to see us involved in that community because it was so died down, I think they’re enjoying that whole process.”

Although Wall remains active in the community, he is waiting until the start of the next NBA season to return to the court. During the shutdown, Wall continues to rehabilitate an Achilles’ tendon injury he suffered in February 2019. He completes workouts in his home, which has a gym and half basketball court. And, of course, Wall rides his bicycle.

“I’m 110 percent healthy. Just still taking my time with the rehab, and luckily I have an opportunity to still work out at home during this quarantine,” Wall said. “I’m fine with that and getting myself in the best shape possible.”

The NBA has opened discussions to resume the season in July by creating a bubblelike atmosphere in Florida to shelter teams from the spread of the virus. Wall expressed his trust in the NBA and the players’ union to make the right decisions, but he said he doesn’t know what will happen next.

“I’m itching to get back out there. I don’t know what they’re going to do about this season. I think … whatever they come up with, they’re going to do a great job of dealing with safety first for all of us players and families and take care of us,” Wall said. “And if they think it’s getting back to play, they’ll do that. If not, I think they’ll stop the season and prepare for next year.”

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