John Wall’s season is done as the star point guard has opted for surgery on his nagging heel injury. Wall will remain in Washington after surgery for his rehab, wanting to be around the team as they try to find away to the postseason without him.
Given the way Wall’s season has gone to this point, the hope is that surgery can bring back the quickness and burst to his game that makes him such a dangerous player. However, there are some, like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, that have a more pessimistic view of Wall’s decision to opt for surgery and end his season.
Smith, who has been critical of Wall all season, wondered aloud on Twitter as to whether Wall was deciding to have surgery because he’s not playing well this season and was likely to not be an All-Star this year. Wall, in speaking with reporters on Monday, understandably took offense at those comments and responded to Smith by asking ESPN’s top takesmith to meet him in person and talk “man to man” if he has an issue with the way Wall is going about things.
Via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington:
“It’s like this, if you have a personal problem with me, come talk to me like a man. If you want to talk about me as a basketball player, that’s fine. I’m cool with that. I can take that criticism. That’s what comes with being that guy,” he said.
“But when you want to take things to a personal level, you can have a conversation with me 1-on-1 as a man. If you don’t like me, you just don’t like me. I’m fine with that. I might not like you, neither. It’s cool.”
Smith saw those comments and took to Twitter to offer his response to Wall, saying he’s tried to talk with the star guard on multiple occasions after Wizards games to no avail, and then said Wall can name the time and place for them to talk.
It’s far from the first time an NBA player has gotten upset with Smith and asked for an in-person meeting, and to Smith’s credit he’s always seemed willing to take them up on that offer. Still, questioning whether someone is having surgery for a legitimate injury because they’re having a bad season (which the injury may be part of the reason for that slippage in production) is almost always going to upset that player, for good reason.