John Wall’s Standing Ovation From Big Blue Nation
The birth of the John Wall Dance phenomenon was fueled solely by Kentucky Wildcats’ fans, before the craze went nationwide and ultimately became Wall’s pop culture trademark. The initial act at Kentucky’s Midnight Madness before Wall’s freshman year was the first glimpse of the special relationship between Big Blue Nation and Wall.
Their admiration has carried over to his professional career with UK fans coming in droves to see Wall play throughout his rookie NBA season. It is almost a guarantee that you will see several Kentucky jerseys and UK related signs at every Wizards home games. The Washington organization wisely welcomed the D.C.-area Kentucky alumni group to a home contest versus the Sacramento Kings earlier this season featuring Wall against his former UK teammate Demarcus Cousins.
Cats fans have even supported Wall all over the country through the Wizards’ 0-25 road record. A large contingent almost equal to those rooting for the Pacers supported Wall when Washington visited Indiana for an afternoon game on New Year’s Eve 2010.
The love is a two-way street and reciprocated heavily by the 2010 SEC Player of the Year. Anyone who follows Wall’s Twitter account (@jimmywa11) knows he is always tweeting about #BBN (Big Blue Nation) and wishing this year’s Wildcat team luck.
Wall attended his first Kentucky game of the season in Rupp Arena last night and was welcomed by thunderous ovations. He found a way to squeeze in the rivalry game versus Tennessee on ESPN’s Super Tuesday between 10:30 am Wizards practice yesterday morning and a 10:30 am shoot-around today before playing Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks tonight. Wall sat at center court, was interviewed by ESPN during the game, and exchanged his signature ‘3’ sign with UK’s Brandon Knight after he drilled a three pointer, the elite frosh point guard who replaced him.
The highlight came when Wall ventured to half court, rocking a Louis Vuitton hoodie, to be the “Y” in Kentucky’s famous cheer.
Here is a fan’s video of the “Y”.
DeMarcus Cousins was envious of Wall, via Twitter:
“He didn’t even tell me…I’m really jealous right now-I want to be there and be the ‘Y’.”
After UK defeated the Vols 73-61, Wall congratulated the team in the locker room.
He spent time with the UK players before the game, and was sitting in Enes Kanter’s empty locker — adjacent to Brandon Knight’s locker — after the game.
After the win, UK head coach John Calipari said he wouldn’t mind if Wall came to every game.
“He watches every game we play,” Calipari said. “He looked at me about Terrence (and said) why does he settle for jumpers? Why doesn’t he dunk balls? I said, ‘I don’t know, go talk to him, coach him a little bit.’ He has a good beat on our team, he wants to be here.”
Terrence Jones said Wall keeps in contact with the team.
“I mainly text him when I’m struggling, what I should do, how to handle things,” Jones said. “He told me to listen to coach. He’s a good friend, someone I can look up to.”
Kanter has been rule ineligible for this year and is yet still a likely top five pick. After watching video of Kanter dominating Ohio State’s super frosh Jared Sullinger in last year’s Nike Hoop Summit game, I am smitten for the Wizards to pick the young Turkish star as a legit inside presence, so I found it highly ironic that Wall was sitting in his unused locker. Jones is also a lock for draft lottery and could be a perfect wing player to pair up with Wall.
Wall also took time to answer some questions.
Wall laughed with Knight post game and exited with a police escort. Before the predictable hate starts rolling in, Wall made it back it to Washington on Tuesday night via private jet. Wizards fans can only hope that Wall remains as committed to their nation as he has to Big Blue Nation.