Los Angeles Clippers guard John Wall may have never lived up to the hype of being the No. 1 overall pick, but he’s had a solid career as an above-average playmaker in the NBA. When he tore his Achilles tendon in May 2019, it felt like the worst thing to happen to a basketball player.
The injury is brutal; it can take up to a year before someone can return to playing at full strength. Even then, they might never get back to where they were beforehand. But for Wall, the injury was just one in a series of setbacks that had him questioning whether he’d ever be healthy again.
Now, the 32-year-old is shedding new light on the dark side of his last two years as he struggled with depression after his career detour.
John Wall has had an up and down NBA career
As Basketball Reference reports, the Washington Wizards selected Wall with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. When he’s on the court, he’s been spectacular. Over 613 career games, he’s averaged 19.1 points per game. Wall has made five All-Star teams and was an All-NBA selection during the 2016-17 season.
The main problems for Wall were injuries and Washington’s lack of competitiveness for the most part during his time with the Wizards. The past three years haven’t gone well for the star guard. He tore his Achilles during the 2019-20 season. He was then traded to the Houston Rockets for Russell Westbrook.
Last season, Wall opted not to play after he and the team mutually decided to part ways. Houston looked to develop younger players while Wall looked for a trade to a contender. Unfortunately for him, the team couldn’t find a suitor, so he sat on the bench for the entire year.
Wall is putting a spotlight on his mental health
Wall recently spoke about his struggles and drew attention to his mental health. According to The Guardian, during the 2019-20 season, Wall didn’t just get injured; he also lost his mother and grandmother. “Darkest place I’ve ever been in,” Wall said about that period of his life. He continued:
“At one point in time, I thought about committing suicide. I mean, just tearing my Achilles, my mom being sick, my mom passing, my grandma passed a year later, all this in the midst of Covid and at the same time … me sitting by my mom taking her last breaths wearing the same clothes for three days straight laying on the couch beside her.”
So how did Wall get out of this? He leaned on his support system. Along with talking with the mother of his two children as well as his sons, he got professional help.
“I went to find a therapist,” said Wall. “A lot of people think, ‘I don’t need help, I can get through it at anytime,’ but you’ve got to be true to yourself and find out what’s best for you.”
Wall has admitted to his struggles, but his admissions seem to put him in a good headspace to move forward productively. So where does he go from here?
What’s next for John Wall?
This season, Wall has finally found himself on a new team: the Los Angeles Clippers. The situation in Houston, while not acrimonious, clearly wasn’t conducive to him playing his best basketball (or any basketball at all). Now he’ll play alongside superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Wall has a chance at a fresh start in LA. He’s joining a deep, talented Clippers team. There’s no pressure on him to be the star, as he’s settling into a role as a mere contributor.
Regardless of how Wall plays this season, it seems he’s in a much better place mentally than he was in the past. Even so, expect big things from the star guard this year as he still has plenty left in the tank.