An Argument With Emeka Okafor Inspired The Best Basketball Of John Wall’s Career

Following another tough performance in a 96-95 February 27th loss to Detroit, in which he had more turnovers (7) than points (6) and was benched, John Wall was clearly frustrated, stuck in a career-worst slump. When teammate, Emeka Okafor, tried to explain to Wall why coach Randy Wittman had to give point guard, A.J. Price, more minutes, he didn’t take it so well, which led to a locker room confrontation that has inspired the best basketball of his young NBA career. Since that argument (21 games), John Wall has been a dominant force, averaging an impressive 22.7 points, 7.9 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game while leading the Wizards to a winning record (11-10).

According to Michael Lee, Washington Post:

When Okafor attempted to explain afterward why Coach Randy Wittman had to make the decision to give A.J. Price more playing time, Wall snapped back, leading to a heated argument that was audible from the walls on the other side of the training room.

Wall was unaccustomed to having a teammate challenge him, but in hindsight, he couldn’t disagree with anything that Okafor told him: Wittman had to go with someone else if he was ineffective and Wall has to trust that the coach is doing what was in the best interest of the team, which should always come first

“It wasn’t nothing bad. I felt like, what he said was right,” Wall said of Okafor “It was all the right things at the right time. ‘You’ve got to learn how to control your anger more.’ Ever since that day forward, I became more focused. Came to practice the next day, talked to him, put it behind us and I just went out there and tried to play basketball. Didn’t hold no grudges.”

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