Boston, Massachusetts — One of the biggest misconceptions about sports journalism is, we, the journalists, are fans of the teams that we cover. However, that is false – our job is to inform the general public about the latest happenings on our beat. This goes back to the three major functions of a newspaper: inform, influence, entertain. This is what separates journalists from the “fake news” you hear about nowadays.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of false narratives out there, including one about one of Washington’s biggest stars; somehow, John Wall isn’t a leader. In addition, this “fake news” is coming from outsiders who aren’t in the Wizards’ locker room. Nonetheless, these critics have national platforms and their rhetoric can be influential, yet their claims are baseless.
Despite what you may have heard, John Wall is arguably one of the most approachable players in this league. Furthermore, he’s very “media friendly” and very honest when you ask him any questions.
Who is John Wall:
Ask fans that sit near the tunnel of Wizards games and they will tell you Wall has either taken a selfie with them or given them an autograph. Wall makes it a point to make fans feel special when they come to see the Wizards play, whether that’s on the road or at the Verizon Center. It’s something you don’t see a lot of in today’s NBA. Many players run past screaming fans because they would rather not be bothered.
Not John Wall.
His dealings with the media is very similar. No matter the question, Wall will give you a full, detailed response. He’s his biggest critic and will be truthful when answering your questions. His basketball knowledge is so in-depth, you almost feel as though he’s teaching you the game as he’s answering your questions.
Even asking him questions about his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys, he sounds like a NFL analyst whose intellect is unprecedented. That’s who he is. He makes it a point to get to know the journalists that covers him. He’ll follow you back on social media platforms and is easily accessible.
Cowboys got both Baltimore and Washington this week coming up—John Wall gives us his take on what they need to do pic.twitter.com/ZkM53ucUlb
— Joshua A. Vinson (@TheJoshAVinson) November 19, 2016
If you find yourself at All-Star in New Orleans and missed John Wall’s media session? No worries – just send him a direct message and he will make himself available to answer your questions.
Again, that’s who John Wall is.
John Wall the Leader:
Everybody in the Wizards’ locker room will tell you Wall is a great leader and his actions show this. After losing Game 7 in Boston, Wall could have made plans to go anywhere in the world. However, he’s staying in Washington helping the younger guys prepare for summer league. Why? Because he cares. Wall understands that the success of these younger players, whether that’s here in Washington or elsewhere, is contingent on their production.
Wall’s influence is also found on the high-school and college level. Any young point guard that wants a mentor, Wall is available. Don’t believe me? Go do your research. Go to Instagram and look at the up and coming point guards and look at who follows them. It’s John Wall. He spoke with Fox Sports 1340AM in Los Angeles this season about why he likes to mentor the younger generation.
— Joshua A. Vinson (@TheJoshAVinson) March 30, 2017
This is who he is on and off the court. Whether the media is there to document it or not, Wall cares. That’s what makes him unselfish and a leader.
Why the hatred?
Define ignorance: lack of knowledge or information. People with national platforms who aren’t connected to this locker room are making statements “lacking” knowledge or information. In today’s click-bait society it’s easier to give a hot-take and tweet it and get a conversation going. It takes a true journalist to talk with people around Raleigh, North Carolina and gain an understanding of the positive impacts of John Wall. Or coming to Washington and talking with kids throughout the DMV. Perhaps, coming to a Wizards game and interacting with Wall himself.
However, that’s real journalism. Doing that would require the journalist to inform and influence. Unfortunately, people would rather believe the myth versus the truth.