John Wall hasn’t played in an NBA game since December 2018, but today, he vowed that when he comes back, he’ll be better than ever.
On the All the Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Wall opened up about his recovery from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon and the infections that followed, admitting that things got so bad that at one point, he worried he wouldn’t be able to walk again.
“Man, forget even playing basketball, just let me have my leg so I can walk and be normal and play with my kid, whatever,” Wall said. “Then I finally got past that stage where now I’m like, I can’t wait to prove everybody [wrong] and show everybody what I got because everybody thinks I’m done.”
For players like Wall who rely on speed and explosiveness, Achilles injuries are especially tough to come back from; however, Wall revealed that during his five-year run as an All-Star, he was playing with bone spurs in his knee and heel, so he’s used to playing through pain.
“I’m gonna be better than what I was before, and that’s the scary part about it because damn near the whole — my five years I was an All-Star, I played with two bone spurs in my knee and my heel and people don’t know that. They ain’t even get the best of John Wall yet. They just got a clip of him.”
During the hour-long interview, Wall also talked about losing his mother to breast cancer in December, how he’s following through on his promise to her to finish his degree at Kentucky (21:30 mark), and how his days in Lexington are among the happiest of his life (26:00 mark)…even if he wanted to transfer after two weeks because practices were so hard.
“When I tell you Coach Cal is one of the craziest coaches — after two weeks, I said, I think I picked the wrong school. I wanted to transfer. I called my mom. She was like, ‘Boy, you’re staying.'”
He also told the famous story of how DeMarcus Cousins’ feet “caught on fire” during suicide drills, and how Calipari made the rest of the team run the next day because of it.
“DeMarcus’ feet caught on fire so he stopped running. He missed a suicide, he missed a suicide. He ran to the sideline, saying, ‘I quit, man. I quit. My feet are burning. I ain’t doing it no more.’ Coach Cal, he said, ‘You know what, if he had finished the suicide, I would have given you all tomorrow off,’ knowing he wasn’t going to give us tomorrow off. He was just using it.”
Lots more stories about the 2009-10 team below, so check it out.