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The Athletic: “John Wall has to decide what’s important to him” after gang sign video

After a summer of good work off the court that included raising $550,000 to provide rent assistance for families in Ward 8 affected by the pandemic and leading a march against racial injustice, John Wall was in the news for all the wrong reasons this past weekend.

In a 13-second clip posted on Twitter, a maskless, out-of-shape Wall was seen at a party flashing gang signs, the middle finger, and a red bandana.

The video, which has been seen nearly three million times in the post above (and plenty more in reposts), sparked controversy among NBA media members and fans across the internet. For a player that has missed the last two seasons due to injury and various setbacks, along with growing leadership concerns, it simply wasn’t a good look for the former Kentucky superstar.

“First and foremost I want to apologize to my family, my teammates and all of those that have always supported me,” Wall said in a statement on Twitter. “I made a mistake, something I regret. I will continue to work hard to be better on the court and more importantly off the court.”

After the video’s release, Michael Lee of The Athletic wrote a column highlighting the growing concerns with Wall and the personal decisions he must face moving forward if he wants to be the leader and superstar point guard in the NBA that he claims he wants to be.

“Wall doesn’t need any advice or condemnation. He needs a reminder that he’s worked too hard to toss away what he’s earned,” Lee wrote. “The apology that he released on Twitter after social media put his embarrassing exploits on blast signaled that he is at least aware of the damage he has done to his reputation. Acknowledging the mistake – even if he wasn’t direct about what exactly he regretted (That the video was made public? Boasting his affiliation with the blood gang? Not practicing social distancing procedures during a pandemic?) – was an important and necessary step toward moving forward.

“But from now until he eventually makes his return to an NBA floor, Wall is going to have to decide what’s really important to him.”

Lee added that Wall’s downward trend in terms of total production and health isn’t helping his case, either. In his own words, the NBA waits for no man. The Washington Wizards and the rest of the league will move on to the next player if he doesn’t stay dedicated to returning to full strength and maturity becomes and issue.

“Wall should be laying low, living in the lab and letting greater fools dominate the headlines with head-shaking shenanigans,” he wrote. “The only videos he should be posting are encouraging shots on Instagram of him working out or dunking, not publicizing gang affiliations.

“… Had this incident occurred five, 10 years ago, it could’ve been chalked up as a youthful indiscretion, a lesson from which Wall can learn and grow. But Wall isn’t some kid. He’s a 30-year-old, grown man who is fully aware of his responsibilities to set an example for his own children and others who admire him.”

For the entire column highlighting Wall’s career and what’s next for the former Wildcat, check it out over at The Athletic here. 

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

26 Comments for The Athletic: “John Wall has to decide what’s important to him” after gang sign video



  1. Zack
    11:41 pm September 14, 2020 Permalink

    Yep I’m sure what he apologized for was not social distancing. Lol gtfoh



  2. UKinIN
    11:54 pm September 14, 2020 Permalink

    Wall hasn’t looked good for years. Most of the time he looks stoned (just a guess) and out of shape. It’s got to be hard to stay focused being a young millionaire dealing with multiple injuries. It’s also ironic that two of the most important players of the early Calipari era at UK have suffered major injuries.



    • bigbluebg
      3:08 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

      I don’t know if that’s ironic.

      What’s strange is how he injured himself worse at home rehabbing his injury.

      If stoned, it would kinda explain that. I was a freshman with Jwall, I played a sport and was in multiple of his classes. Went to parties with him. He was an a$$hole.

      He just cares about hurting his brand. This story is a PR move, ppl don’t change that much.

      He blemished my opinion of UK bball for awhie. Anthony Davis & Karl Towns shined it back up for me.



    • Alex90
      7:13 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

      Wow you saw him at a few places 10 years ago. Are you writing the autobiography for him? Go play detective somewhere else and stay off the internet for a while



    • peaches76
      7:29 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

      But you’re going to slam a former UK athlete because he states a few facts. And he’s the one that should stay off the internet? Interesting



    • Alex90
      7:35 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

      Lol his opinion about John Wall is not a fact. Maybe you should google the definition of “fact” while on the internet.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      9:51 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

      bigbluebg, you may be who you say you are, but I could come on here and claim to be a former UK athlete myself (I am NOT the real Gettelfinger BTW…haha). We have no way of knowing if you actually played sports at UK or met Wall, so I take that with a grain of salt. Just a point of order.



  3. MrFlip41129
    12:01 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

    How is it ironic? Young kids, bigger, stronger, and faster than most kids. They out their bodies through hell to play basketball. You can say the same about all coaches and young players. You just took a shot at Cal. No need for that. If you a UK fan in Indiana, you need you Blue Blue fandom checked, and for taking a shot at Cal. Le me guess you said the same about Sam Bowie and coaching as well…



    • bigbluebg
      3:11 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

      He’s entitled to his opinion.
      You can tone down that Cal ride or die attitude. It is a little annoying.



    • UKinIN
      9:04 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

      Perhaps I should have gone with sad over ironic? Wall and Cousins were important to bringing UK basketball back to the top and it’s sad that their NBA careers have been disrupted by multiple injuries. Freshmen together. Same draft. Too many injuries. Sad. And if I want to take a shot at Calipari I’ll use his name. You’re seeing an insult that isn’t there.



  4. Arch Stanton
    6:30 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

    He should think about rehab.



  5. UKFanSC
    6:49 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

    As with ALL athletes (you listening LeBron) focus on your game and stay out of politics, gangs, rap, and other distractions.



    • JoeMoney333
      7:05 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

      Ignorance. Then everyone ever should adhear to that. Everyone should only care about their career and never be interested in anything outside of it.



    • Swimuk
      7:40 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

      These kind of responses always amuse me. First, gangs and other distractions are far different than politics. Second, regarding politics, Lebron or any other athlete is entitled to their opinion as much as you or any other non athlete. I have a feeling this has more to do with the issues Lebron and many athletes are voicing their opinions about than the actually voice.



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      9:49 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

      Swimuk, I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me it’s not because they have opinions. It’s that I don’t want their opinions forced down my throat in order to watch a game. Saying stuff off the court is different. I can tune that out if I choose and still watch a game.

      BTW, another big part of this for me is people not letting the facts come out about these incidents. Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor were not exactly angels. Taylor had apparently turned her life around from what I’ve read, but her background with her ex-boyfriend played at least some role in what happened. If procedure was not followed then those cops should be prosecuted of course.



  6. mhs1964
    8:02 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

    Just stupid. No need to analyze



  7. macattack
    8:12 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

    I count myself surprised that this has gotten so big. To me, the biggest thing is just that he looks out of shape. The gang sign is stupid to do just because it’ll get a bunch of people whining about it. (most of whom probably never watch him play ball anyway).

    Cancel culture coming for John Wall….



  8. Section233
    8:23 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

    The Wizards should be very concerned about his behavior and he should go read the fine print in that fat contract of his.



  9. Section233
    8:26 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

    I see another Antoine Walker in his future. Go blow your millions on gang parties and then what. He looks high in the video. What in the world is he thinking. Definitely not thinking about rehab and playing ball again.



  10. Section233
    8:29 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

    He prob blew all his cash already and got that wad of cash in the video from Hagans lol



    • ClutchCargo
      8:54 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

      Does it always take 3 minutes for you to think up the next thing to post when you get on a roll? lol



    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      9:59 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

      Duke fan alert me thinks.



  11. BigBlueFoo42777
    9:01 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

    He needs to put some distance between himself and th ed idiot hes with. Impossible to do good when your hanging with losers.



  12. whack0001
    9:03 am September 15, 2020 Permalink

    So he joins in BLM protests and then turns around and throws gang signs from a gang responsible for killing who knows how many black Americans. That makes a lot of sense.



  13. MrFlip41129
    9:05 pm September 15, 2020 Permalink

    @bigbluebg. No issue with opinion just making statement. I’m 100% Kentucky fan, but I’m a Cal fan as well. But only when he came to tht Cats. Why is it annoying, just my opinion… Name another coach that could handle the pressure of Kentucky the way he has. Before Cal got here Cats were done! We got laughed at and lost many many games should have won. I’m going to go out on a limb and say you probably dont like Cal and want players that stay 3-4 years.



  14. PJ
    11:07 am September 16, 2020 Permalink

    Calipari must be so proud.