John Wall’s on-court struggles have been well-documented since a recent string of injuries plagued his NBA career. But the All-Star point guard just experienced a tragedy off the court, too. On December 13, Wall’s mother, Frances Pulley, passed away after battling breast cancer.
It was heartbreaking news for the NBA community, as Wall has spoken at great length about what his mother means to him. Fortunately, in the wake of the loss, he’s received ample support from his old college coach, John Calipari.
John Wall’s incredibly rough year
Many people focus on NBA players’ salaries as though their sky-high incomes take away their humanity. Wall is a case of this fallacy. Despite being one of the most well-paid NBA players, his career is plagued with injuries; the latest being an Achilles injury he suffered in a fall at his home.
An Achilles tear can be disastrous for NBA players if not handled correctly. Some players, like Rudy Gay, have been able to recover and return to form. Others, like Wes Matthews, Kobe Bryant, and DeMarcus Cousins, see serious regression and lingering issues.
Wall will likely be out until at least February 2020 — a year is often the timetable for an Achilles injury — but with any complications, he could be out longer. The point guard’s injuries, while painful, pale in comparison to the tragedy Wall experienced with the recent loss of his mother.
Frances and John Wall’s relationship
Wall has credited his mother for giving him everything he needed to make it in the NBA. His father died after spending time in prison, so Wall’s mother was a single parent for much of his life.
Wall wrote about his regrets with not being able to show his father what he became. To some, having a father in prison hurts their relationship, but Wall didn’t see it this way as he explained in a letter to his father.
“You were an inmate for most of my life,” John wrote, according to The Undefeated. “But that didn’t matter because you were my father, and to me as a young boy, prison was just a place where you happened to live.”
According to The Washington Post, Wall has a tattoo on his back that honors his mother. She drove him to practice and constantly cheered on her son at games both in college and the NBA. When the cancer diagnosis came out in February, Wall spoke about how he would do everything he could to be with her and support her.
“God don’t make no mistakes,” Wall said, according to NBC Sports. “I can’t wonder why He did this, probably it’s a good time to spend with my mom while she’s battling this cancer and be there for her, and also be there for my son.”
Wall is heartbroken, and his former coach reached out to offer words of support and encouragement.
John Calipari’s condolences to Wall
Calipari praised Pulley on Twitter, stating what a wonderful job she did raising her son and how hard she battled as her health declined. Calipari shared that it was Pulley who convinced Wall to go to Kentucky. The Wildcats coach expressed condolences and reiterated just how much he respects Wall.
Professional athletes take a hard path to get where they are, and sometimes it can be hard for fans to realize that they experience similar pitfalls to the rest of us do. With the loss of his mother, Wall lost his biggest fan. Hopefully, he can return to the court soon and make her proud.