John Wall is one of the highest-paid players in the NBA.
The Washington Wizards guard signed a massive $207 million contract extension, which is set to kick in this season, keeping him in the nation’s capital through 2023.
Yet Wall isn’t likely to see the court at all this season after rupturing his left Achilles tendon at home in February.
His injury, paired with a lack of postseason success from the former No. 1 overall draft pick, has caused many to doubt his return and criticize the Wizards for the massive contract they offered him — one that many view as one of the worst in the league.
Wall, though, hasn’t let that criticism get to him. In fact, it’s done just the opposite.
“I deserved that contract,” Wall said, via The Athletic. “My whole mindset is – it’s in my notes – I didn’t deserve it? When I come back, I’m going to show them I earned it. I never want a handout. I always worked for mine ... I’m going to prove myself.”
Wall has spent nearly a full decade with the Wizards, and averaged 23.1 points and 10.7 assists during the 2016-17 season, his last complete year. He played in just 41 games during the 2017-18 season due to a lingering knee and heel injury, and played in just 32 games last season before rupturing his Achilles.
After his time away from the game, Wall said he’s more than ready to get back on the court and is “itching” to prove himself again — and he only wants to do that with the Wizards.
“I’m not one of those guys that wants to play for multiple teams,” Wall said, via The Athletic. “I want to play for one organization. If it comes down to it, where you have to move around, and it don’t work, they’re giving me the opportunity to come back, not this year but next year after, if I don’t play well, you trade me. I can’t be mad at nobody because they gave me the opportunity and I gave myself a chance to prove myself. That’s all I ask for.”
Only time will tell if Wall can bounce back when he finally does return. At 30 years old, it’s never easy to recover fully from an injury as severe as his.
For however long he has left in the league, though, Wall is just focused on one thing:
“The one thing I take from this is never take the game for granted. Never. Never. Never,” Wall said,via The Athletic. “I can’t control injuries. They happen. You can’t. Some people are healthy forever. Some are not. But don’t ever take the game for granted. I never did that.”
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