While it’s wise to be skeptical of all summer workout reports, there is optimism around the return of John Wall with the Clippers this season. Marc Stein wrote on Sunday a source told him Wall “looked sharp in offseason workouts and appears poised to be a contributor for the Clippers.” Others have echoed those sentiments, including Paul George.
It’s a bounce back from a very dark place for Wall, who has played 40 games over three seasons due to injuries, COVID, and the Rockets sending him home. But what was public was only a fraction of what Wall had to deal with the past 30 months. Wall opened up about all of it, including suicidal thoughts and seeing a therapist, when speaking at a garden dedication for his mom at Salvation Army of Wake County in North Carolina, where he grew up.
john wall on his life the past 2 years and dealing with suicidal thoughts. my dawg really a warrior. can’t wait to see him hoop with the clippers.🖤💯 pic.twitter.com/zNy4CP4Jk7
— ★ (@sublxme888) August 29, 2022
Wall on the past two-and-a-half years:
“Darkest place I ever been in. I mean, at one point in time I thought about committing suicide. I mean to tear my Achilles, my mom being sick, my mom passing, my grandma passed a year later, all this in the midst of COVID at the same time. Me going to the chemotherapy, me seeing my mom take her last breath, wearing the same clothes for three days take laying on the couch beside her…
“If I can get through this I can get through anything in life… For me to be back on top of where I want to be and see the fans still want me to play, support from my hometown — their support period means a lot.
“I had to go find a therapist, You know, a lot of people think ‘I don’t need help. I can get through it at any time.’ But you got to be true to yourself and find out what’s best for you and I did.”
Good on Wall for talking about this. It matters.
Wall missed the 2019-20 season while he recovered from his torn Achilles, he played 40 games the next season in Houston, but sat out all of last season, increasingly getting frustrated that the Rockets did not play him or trade him. Wall wisely opted into his $47 million for this season, was bought out by the Rockets (after no trade emerged), and quickly signed with the Clippers. He will split time at the point in Los Angeles with Reggie Jackson.
Keeping Wall healthy will be the key for Los Angeles, he hasn’t played more than half a season since 2016-17 — but when he has played, he’s been solid to good. The explosive burst may not be the same, but there is more craft in Wall’s game than he sometimes gets credit for, and the Clippers with Tyronn Lue could bring it out of him. Wall is on a team with a chance to win a ring; that legacy should be added motivation.
But after the past 30 months, just getting on the court is motivation enough.