We all remember John Wall as one of the legendary members of the 2009-10 men’s basketball team, the beginning of the Calipari era here in Kentucky. How could we forget the John Wall dance that lit up all of my middle school dances? It is forever etched in my memory, for better or for worse.
He is a superstar athlete, on and off the court, continuously representing humanity and sportsmanship in his play and lifestyle.
However, there is another title we need to bring into the John Wall conversation: philanthropist.
This may be his most important role yet.
This past week, Wall released his plans for a rent relief program for those in DC who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. It is the nation’s capital’s first coronavirus relief program, a city that claims over 6 million in its metro area. Wall’s program focuses on Ward 8 of the city, which houses the Wizards, Washington Capitals, and Washington Mystics practice centers.
This is far from Wall’s first charitable act in the District of Columbia (and far from his first act even within the past month) since his tenure there began in 2010, and, if I had to guess, it will be far from his last.
In 2015, the John Wall Family Foundation donated $400,000 to The Bright Beginnings Center, a local DC charity that supports homeless youth, a rapid-growing issue in the DC area.
Since 2013, the John Wall Family Foundation has hosted an annual Back-to-School Field Day, gifting youth in the DC area as well as Wall’s hometown of Raleigh, NC with brand new school supplies to kick off the school year.
The John Wall Family Foundation also runs a holiday assistance program, helping to provide meals around Thanksgiving and Christmas, ranging from handing out ingredients at DC elementary schools to inviting the Boys and Girls Club of DC for a Christmas dinner at various locations around the city.
In 2016, Wall was the recipient of the NBA Cares Community Assist Award, the only former Kentucky player to receive the award.
As someone who is a resident of DC and Lexington, his actions hit home for me, literally and figuratively. I am proud he represents both the state of Kentucky and the District of Columbia, a favored son of each. Despite his hardships over the last year on the court, he continues to show his true colors and respectable character.
After a weekend filled with bad news, let John Wall’s sunshine beam over your Sunday.
Hopefully, we can see Wall back on the court soon, and I can get “Do the John Wall” out of my head.