Chances are, John Wall is going to be selected first overall by the Washington Wizards in tonight’s NBA Draft.
But Wall has already been preparing for his rookie season. Along with training, he’s helping Reebok promote its new basketball shoe – the Reebok ZigTech Slash. The star-to-be still found time in his busy schedule for a Q&A with SIKIDS.com…
SIKIDS.com: It is a big week for you. You’ll most likely be the top pick, and now you have your own shoe. Is this like all of your dreams coming true at the same time?
Wall: It’s a dream come true. You always hope to have a chance to play in the NBA and that means a lot. I always wanted to have my own shoe commercial and all of it is coming true in just a matter of weeks. But, basically, I’ve got to stay humble and not get all big-headed because I have this.
SIKIDS.com: Do you think you’ll have a lot of impact on what Reebok does in the future in the basketball world?
Wall: [I want to do] basically what Allen Iverson did. He helped their brand and they took a chance with him and he made it skyrocket. So basically he is passing the torch to me and I am trying to do the same thing and get it back to the top where it once was. Hopefully it sells a whole lot and [we] make a good shoe.
SIKIDS.com: Have you talked to A.I. about Reebok?
Wall: I didn’t really talk to him a whole bunch about that. I definitely talked to him about how he makes his deals and how he feels about the Reebok family. He said they were a great family and loyal to him.
SIKIDS.com: Nike and Adidas must have come calling. Was that a tough choice when it finally came down to it?
Wall: I talked to all of them. Growing up I liked Nike. Everybody liked the Jordans and Nike, so that was a tough sacrifice to make. But I feel like the better opportunity for me was to go Reebok and have my own shoe, have a chance for a commercial and be out there like Kobe and LeBron and those guys. This was the best choice for me.
SIKIDS.com: It seems like as the players get more athletic the shoes have to evolve to meet that. Do you feel like Reebok’s ZigTech do that?
Wall: I feel like they did a great job. They did a great job making them comfortable. The bottom part feels good. You feel nothing when you land or when you turn.
SIKIDS.com: Have you put them to the test?
Wall: I have put them to the test a couple of times. I worked out for the Wizards in them and then I was back home working out with them and they feel great to me. [But] I feel like a shoe doesn’t make a basketball player.
SIKIDS.com: You draw some comparison to Gary Payton, one of the NBA’s greatest defensive players. But right now you aren’t known for your defense. How important is it for you to develop that?
Wall: It’s key. I think a big adjustment is being physically prepared in my defensive game. [NBA players] move so much faster.
SIKIDS.com: How are you preparing for this transition to the NBA?
Wall: I’m a person who doesn’t like to take days off, so I’m just working out and trying to get better every day.
SIKIDS.com: You had a 3.5 GPA this year. How important was that performance in school?
Wall: It was key. My mom is tough on academics. I wasn’t there just for basketball. Especially when the season was over, everybody thought I was going to leave, but I did a great job of staying there and finishing out the school year for myself and for the University of Kentucky.
SIKIDS.com: The last few Rookies of the Year were point guards. How do you feel about that?
Wall: Hopefully I can keep the trend going. [Other point guards] keep messing with me, telling me “you can’t mess it up, you got to keep it going.” So that’s what I am going to try to do.
SIKIDS.com: Your John Wall dance move, the one you originated at Kentucky’s Big Blue Madness, is in your new commercial for the ZigTech Slash shoes. Did you know it would catch on?
Wall: I did not know it was going to get that big. Having a good time at a bigger event, it was a once in a lifetime chance to do it. I just wanted to have fun. First DeMarcus [Cousins] and Eric [Bledsoe] wanted to dance, but they were scared of heights, so when they got up [on the basket] they were holding on to the rim, they didn’t want to dance. So I got up there and did it and they just took it and ran with it.
SIKIDS.com: Are we going to see it this season?
Wall: You are all gonna see it a little bit.