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Wizards' star John Wall goes in-depth on racism and events in Charlottesville

Wizards' star John Wall goes in-depth on racism and events in Charlottesville

John Wall has always been one to speak his mind and answer questions directly, though politics isn't often his game. During the preseason last fall he was asked who he was voting for between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and his response was evasive. He didn't want to go there.

But the past week's events, starting with the protests in Charlottesville that included a woman getting killed by a white supremacist driving through a crowd, have clearly weighed on the Wizards' star point guard. Wall spoke at length about the current state of affairs at his charity event at Rosedale Community Center in Northeast Washington on a broiling Friday afternoon.

Wall met with the media, but first made an address to the kids and parents who showed up for his backpack giveaway and other charity efforts. He began by referencing Charlottesville.

"I know this week has been tough for our country with things not going the way we would want them to, but the most important thing is that you can't use that as retaliation. We've all got to treat each other as the same. No matter what color you are, we are all family. We're all in this world trying to make it more peaceful and promising than anything," he said.

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Afterwards, Wall spoke further about how this last week has affected him.

"It's very important [to give back], especially with what has been going on the past week or so in our country and the tough times that we're dealing with. I want the kids to understand that no matter what goes on, you can't use that to try to target nobody else. We're all one whole family. Even though we're different races, we're still one big family. We have to work to try to get things to as best the situation we can and keep it positive," he explained.

"It's been difficult [the last week]," Wall continued. "It's been tough. We go through times where things are going in the right direction for us and our country is going in positive ways, then we revert back to the stuff we try to tell our kids not to do, that our parents told us not to be. We are going through what we went through in the past when we thought we got away from that. It's kind of amazing to think that in 2017 and going into 2018, that we're still dealing with the same type of things that our great, great grandparents dealt with. We thought we were going in a positive direction. All we can do is not use it in retaliation. Try to stay positive and understand that we need to give these kids a brighter [outlook]. Don't use it to go back at these people."

[RELATED: MORRIS PREPARING FOR FATHERHOOD]

Wall was asked about the fact he's speaking out, as many athletes don't and he in the past hasn't been someone to delve into politics and current events. He feels now like he has no choice.

"If it's something I feel like I need to speak on, I will speak on it. I feel like with what we're going through, it's kind of tough. What everybody is saying is totally right. We thought we got past those things. Every year there is something that is reverting right back to it. It's something that we're going to have to deal with for the rest of our lives. But as long as we educate our kids and educate our people that we are role models to, and show them that we can't revert back to that, I think we'll be totally fine."

Wall has a platform as an NBA superstar and one that happens to play in Washington, where policies and laws are set. He relishes the power as someone kids look up to, knowing he can make a difference with what he says and does.

"It's me and my personality and what my mom wanted me to be growing up: not just a great basketball player, but having character as a young man. That's what a lot of people look at first. They look at the talents and the things that I do on the basketball court, but they understand how I carry myself off the court, with a clean image and trying to not do things to get in trouble. That's what I pride myself off of."

[RELATED: PODCAST: NBA VIDEO GAMES PREVIEW]

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Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Can Daniel Ochefu earn playing time in a crowded frontcourt?

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USA Today Sports

Wizards 2017-18 roster outlook: Can Daniel Ochefu earn playing time in a crowded frontcourt?

As part of CSN's preview for the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we preview Daniel Ochefu's season...

Player: Daniel Ochefu

Position: Center

Age: 23

2016-17 stats: 19 G, 3.9 mpg, 1.3 ppg, 0.2 apg, 1.2 rpg, 0.1 spg, 0.0 bpg, 44.4 FG%, 00.0 3P%, 00.0 FT%, 44.4 eFG%, 91 ORtg, 108 DRtg

2017-18 storyline: Ochefu was no different than the other Wizards' rookies in that he didn't get much playing time at all in 2016-17. Even with Ian Mahinmi missing 51 games, Ochefu rarely saw the floor. Head coach Scott Brooks instead opted for Jason Smith to play extensive minutes in Mahinmi's absence and relied on Marcin Gortat to carry the load.

Injuries or not, that was to be expected for Ochefu, who signed with the Wizards as an undrafted free agent out of Villanova. After holding no picks in the 2016 draft, the Wizards saw enough promise in Ochefu to sign him and stash him on the back of their roster as a prospect.

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The Wizards see potential in Ochefu especially on the defensive end. He was never a big scorer in college, but was essential to Villanova's national championship team as a rebounder and rim protector.

Ochefu will probably have a hard time seeing the floor again this season with the same frontcourt returning. If Mahinmi plays more this year, that even further soldifies Ochefu's role as a third or fourth string guy. And like Sheldon Mac, Ochefu's contract isn't fully guaranteed unless he's still on the roster in January.

Potential to improve: Rim protection, post moves, consistency.

MORE WIZARDS' ROSTER PREVIEWS:

Can John Wall take another step after earning All-NBA?

Is this the year Bradley Beal becomes an All-Star?

What is the next step in Otto Porter's development?

Markieff Morris can be an X-factor this season

Will Marcin Gortat's role change or be the same this year?

Will Kelly Oubre, Jr. make a big leap this season?

Can Ian Mahinmi make a bigger impact in his second season?

Will Tim Frazier be the solution at backup point guard?

Jodie Meeks could make big impact off bench

Mike Scott can add toughness to Wizards' bench

Jason Smith's improvement as a shooter should help Wizards bench

Will Tomas Satoransky's role expand in his second year?

Will Sheldon Mac be given a bigger opportunity?

[RELATED: WHO WILL BE MOST-IMPROVED ON THE WIZARDS THIS YEAR?]

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Holding back tears, John Wall thanks his mom in Kentucky HOF speech

Holding back tears, John Wall thanks his mom in Kentucky HOF speech

On Friday evening, John Wall was inducted to the Kentucky Hall-of-Fame, but it was not the memories of Wall's historic time at the University of Kentucky that was the theme of the night.

Rather it was Wall's speech and when he gave a tear-jerking section of it talking about his mom. 

“And last but not least – can you stand up – can ya’ll give recognition to my mom, Frances Pully.”

**pauses for applause**

“I hope she don’t cry and I told her I wouldn’t cry but it might get a little difficult tonight. Ummm, I just want to thank yo-“ pasues to hold back tears. “I want to say thank you for being my mom.

"I know it’s tough growing up with me and my two sisters, seeing my dad go to jail at a young age. You sacrificing everything. I’ve seen you pick me up to school, take me to school, and only pick me up from school. I always wondered what it feel like to be able to do things for my mom, I never had the chance. You know uh, you always told me, when I was sixteen you said, you know Iwas a hard-headed kid, I know you used to hate when I was in kindergarten. You had to sit in the parking a lot of the time because I could never stay in school for more than in 30 minutes, I was always getting kicked out. And she had to drive 45 minutes to take me to school.”

“Then all of a sudden, I started playing AAU basketball. I meet one of my close friends D.J., we call him Grizzly, and she would miss a lot tournaments but she would sacrifice sometimes not paying the light bill just so I could to go play basketball. Then when I was sixteen-years-old, I kept getting in trouble, she took basketball away from me.  She said, ‘you could go down the same road as your daddy, your brothers or you could be somebody special and change our families lives.’ And that is when I want to thank Coach Cal. My senior year I got a breaking and entering charge, just doing some dumb stuff to a kid that had an opportunity to go college. And one of the first people that came down there in 24 hours was Coach Cal. And he said, ‘listen you’re coming to school, I’m getting you away from here.’ And a lot of coaches would have ran from that they wouldn’t have believed on me, they would have gave up on me. And see what I did, see what I accomplished, and the person I have became, I couldn’t thank nobody else.”

“I want to thank you mom for being who you are, being a strong, powerful woman, having that gritty attitude that some people look at me and see in my face and they say ‘Well John Wall is not approachable.’ Well I get it from my mom. And I’m cool with that because when you really get to know me I’m really a loyal person, I’m a family person. And I just want to thank you for being my mom. I wouldn’t ask for nobody else in this world to be my mom. I hope whoever I marry, whoever the mom to my kid, they can be just as strong as you is [sic] and just as powerful."

To see this section of his speech, click the video at the top of the page.

RELATED VIDEO: JOHN WALL'S FULL KENTUCKY HOF SPEECH

Once Wall's moment was over, he broke out his legendary Kentucky jersey, a little tighter than from eight years ago.

"It feels good to put this back on one more time too."

Before he left the stage and the night was done, he entertained with his famous, arm-flexing John Wall dance.