Wednesday nationally syndicated ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd harshly criticized Washington Wizard rookie John Wall’s pregame dance routine and “out of control” play Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Along with the audio of Cowherd’s comments, his remarks about Wall are transcribed below in italic. My response to his comments are in bold.
Cowherd: “I’m gonna call out John Wall….Before the game started, he spent 34 seconds doing the Dougie. That tells me all I need to know about J-Wow. Then he opened his mouth later and confirmed it: not a sharp guy. All about him. In that line last night, that 29-point line, when he was out of control, he had 8 turnovers. By the way, Rajon Rondo had 17 assists last night, 0 turnovers. Rajon’s got rings, Wall will never have one.”
Here’s the first thing Wall said after his 29 points, 13 assists and nine steals helped the Wizards defeat the 76ers 116-115 in overtime:
“Yeah, it was great, man, the one thing I want to really work on, though — great win for the team — but turnovers. I came back in and had nine or eight. That’s too many turnovers for this team.”
Wall’s Coach Flip Saunders addressed Cowherd’s criticism of his player to the media Thursday:
“John’s very professional, and so he wasn’t doing anything disrespectful to the game. I think the people probably enjoyed it.
“I’ll tell you what, if he has to dance to get 29 and 13 and 9 steals, and cut down on the turnovers, he can dance all he wants.”
Cowherd: “You all, go read the John Wall box score. Everybody’s fascinated. ESPN SportsCenter will probably do like 9 minutes on it. I’ll take the Rondo box score: 3 boards, 9 points, 17 assists, 4 steals, no turnovers….”
Wall has played three games in his NBA career. Rondo has played over four seasons.
Cowherd: “Folks, when you rob a bank, it’s not just the act of it, it’s that you sat down for weeks and planned it. That tells me you’re an idiot. The act is just the final icing on the cake. The cake is you sat down for weeks and planned it.”
Did Ray Lewis plan this dance before the Super Bowl?
“Oh, I’m gonna get a lot of callers — Colin, he’s just having fun. What he did last night, Rondo never would, Isiah never would, J. Kidd never would, Stockton never would, Nash never would, Magic never would. Point guard is like the quarterback. it’s an IQ-judgment position. The great ones are not about themselves. They’re about the others. Leadership is IQ, it’s not skills.”
76ers head coach Doug Collins on Wall after the Wizards-Sixers game Tuesday night - the same game in which Wall danced during pregame introductions.
“I’ve seen John Wall since he was in high school. He’s amazing. First of all, he’s a point guard. A lot of guys say they’re point guards whereas really they are not and John Wall is a POINT guard. He’s a leader and winner.”
Cowherd: “J Wow’s 37-second Yo dawg look at me I’m the man [dance], and his wild, out-of-control style, everybody else is buying his stock, and it told me all I need to know. He’s gonna end up on the Iverson, Francis, Starbury [side]: great stats, nine All-Star teams, never play with good smart players and an elite head coach. He’s gonna drive people nuts.”
Golden State Warriors head coach Keith Smart on Wall after coaching against him in Wall’s pro debut with the Wizards:
“It was his show … the building was packed tonight (for Wall), but he didn’t come into the basketball game tonight and demand to have an incredible (individual) game. He allowed his teammates to play with him.
“You want to always look at guys when they come out of the basketball game and watching how he interacted on the bench, he interacted with his teammates really well, and that’s a tremendous thing for a point guard, not only to show leadership when he’s on the floor but when he’s not in the game.”
Cowherd: “My daughter’s 10. Ten years old. She knows the difference between right and wrong. My daughter knows what Randy Moss did is wrong. She’s 10. The haves get it early, the have-nots never do. Look at me, I’m great, I’m unbelievable. It’s not robbing the bank, it’s that you planned it. It’s not just doing the Doggie (sic) for 35 seconds, it’s that you really thought before the game, this is gonna be super cool and people will like me. The wrong people. “
John Wall to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST on why he danced during Tuesday’s pregame introductions:
“Sam [Cassell] and [Manager of Team Services Jackie Miles] told me I needed to dance to get the crowd into it, so I did it for them.”
Cassell is an assistant coach with the Wizards and played on three NBA championship teams.
Cowherd: “You could see it before the game started. Magic would never consider doing that. It’s just who he is. And you think he’s gonna change now that they gave him $75 million? Oh yeah, I’m sure he’s gonna life change now. It’s not robbing the bank, partner; it’s that you planned it. It’s not just the act, it’s that you thought about it and thought it was a great idea….”
Cowherd is right, Magic didn’t do The Dougie. He did the John Wall dance:
Did Magic think that was a great idea?
Cowherd: “You go look, we have a Hall of Fame point guard right now, his name is Rondo. Go look at his numbers….The best distributor in the league, and all we’ll pay attention to is John Wall. Rondo is your superstar point guard, but we will spend hours on John Wall. I’d take Rondo in a heartbeat….When I see Wall dropping 29, you know what Wall’s thinking tonight? Man, that dance was good, I might get 39 tonight. Great. Nine (sic) turnovers and 29 points. Welcome to the back of the class, get behind the Celtics, the Lakers and the Heat.”
During Magic Johnson’s rookie 1979-80 NBA season, he recorded 305 turnovers. That turnover figure was good for third-highest overall in the league and second-highest in Lakers regular season history.
That same season Johnson won the NBA Finals MVP award, leading the Lakers to the NBA title for the first time in nearly a decade.
Audio of Cowherd’s comments on ESPN Radio:
Thanks to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST for the transcription of Cowherd’s comments.
And thanks to Cowherd for those comments.
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