Last August, when the NBA released its schedule for the 2016-17 regular season, the Wizards were only guaranteed five games on national television. Months later, on Dec. 28, the Wizards lost one of those games, as ESPN flexed their matchup against the Celtics on Jan. 11 out in favor of Grizzlies vs. Thunder.
Wizards guard John Wall retweeted the news with a simple 'Lol' and later discussed in more detail how the Wizards were overlooked by the league and networks when it comes to national television. He spoke about the matter numerous times, making it clear he cares about the attention his team receives.
Wall, naturally, is much happier with the slate for 2017-18, as the Wizards have been given 18 national TV games. They will play nearly 22 percent of their regular season on national television.
"It's great," Wall said. "I think we could have had that in the past. We had a heck of a season last year. We fell short of what we wanted to. It just means we're getting the recognition we wanted in the one of the most powerful cities in the world in basketball and sports, period. To have that, with them showing us love having our first game of the season on TV, then having a Christmas game and those types of things, that's what I think our city needs and what we want. It's big for us."
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The fact the Wizards and Celtics had a game flexed out of national TV last season, but now have all four of their games in 2017-18 set for major networks, is not lost on Wall.
"When we got in that little altercation [with the Celtics], I said that every game from now on should be on [national] TV. It wasn't. Well, now every game this year is on [national] TV, so I'm fine with that," he said.
The Wizards will also play their season opener on Oct. 18 at home against the Sixers on national TV. Three of their four games against Philadelphia and the Cleveland Cavaliers will be nationally televised.
Getting this level of recognition is new for Wall and the Wizards. Wall is more used to being overlooked and drawing motivation from that.
Wall knows this is new territory for him and his teammates, and how things could change accordingly.
"I think that going into this season, our teammates have to understand what we have ahead of us. We're not going in as underdogs now. Now people to understand what we're capable of and what we have to do," he said.
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