John Wall upset he was picked 12th for Rising Star Challenge: ‘It’s a joke to me’
Now that the rookies vs. sophomores game has become the Rising Star Challenge, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal have all the power in making the picks. With those two in charge, somebody has to get heated about something. John Wall has that covered. Barkley selected Wall 12th overall from a pool of 20 rookies and second-year players, and Wall reacted as though his NBA draft stock had slipped and he was going to miss out on millions of dollars.
“It’s a joke to me,” Wall said according to the Washington Post. “If they think there are 11 guys better than me, then that’s their decision. But I know what I think in my mind and all I can do is go out there and play basketball the way I know how to play.
“If they think I’m the 12th-best player out of all of those players, then that’s their decision. That’s my mindset. I know what I worked on this summer and I know what I can do on the basketball court. That’s just one game. I’m not really worried about it. It’s one game. We got more season before the all-star break and after the all-star break, and how I want to finish.”
After a slow start, Wall has picked it up as of late. However, he was not selected as a reserve for the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Part of that is likely a result of the Wizards 7-24 record, but Wall’s 16.9 points and 7.5 assists per game are not that overwhelming. More importantly, someone should remind last year’s rookie vs. sophomore MVP that the Rising Star Challenge — like the All-Star game — is merely an exhibition for the fans. The fact that Wall is that offended by being picked late proves he has a lot of growing up to do.