Every John Wall fan had to be impressed with the All-Star’s weekend in New York City. He had perhaps the most underrated night of anyone during the West’s 163-158 win, playing like he had something to prove, cutting up the West’s guards and finishing with 19 points, seven dimes, and two steals. For me, it was especially satisfying.
During five-plus years of covering the NBA, I’ve interacted with Wall more than any other player. I tracked him in high school when I thought he was the best point guard prospect I’d ever seen. I was there when he played his final game at Kentucky, losing to West Virginia in the Elite Eight in 2010. I got up with him often during his rookie year. I wrote two Dime cover stories on him. And now, this year, he finally ascended to superstar status, earning a starting nod for the East squad in his second All-Star appearance, all while becoming one of the best ambassadors not only for the NBA but for adidas as well.
“It’s more hectic for me because I’m playing better,” Wall said in comparing this All-Star Weekend with last year’s. “I’m a starter and I have more responses that I had to do a lot of things for. It’s been tough but it’s been exciting. It’s a great honor and it’s something I’ll share with my family and friends.”
Just a few hours before he took the Madison Square Garden court on Sunday, I got up with Wall at the adidas store on Broadway to talk about his personal style, his signature sneaker line, and his favorite music right now.
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You get a chance to check out the Yeezys?
JW: Oh yeah. I had the opportunity to go to Kanye’s fashion show when he had it so it was very exciting. I like the low-top ones. He got some nice low-top shoes coming out. It was fun to be there. Like I said, it was a hectic week with the NBA and Fashion Week. There are a lot of people here.
For your shoe with adidas, would you eventually want a lifestyle version like that?
JW: Oh yeah, definitely. Definitely, I think that’s the most important thing. Even with the shoe I play in, it’s the colorways and the style. You gotta be able to wear it on and off the court. But hopefully down the road I can have something like that, an off-the-court style shoe.
What are you wearing off the court this season?
JW: I like the Big Seans. I like the Pusha Ts. I like my shoe. I still wear shelltoes, keep it old school, and I like wearing Timbs.
When you were a kid, what was your favorite sneaker growing up?
JW: As a kid, I liked Jordans. That was all I liked growing up.
Would you say your personal style has changed over the years?
JW: I think it’s the same. I always make my own decisions. What I feel like I put together and what I wear is up to me. If I feel comfortable wearing it and like it, it’s different. I think probably the only thing is you have a little bit more money than you used to and can buy more expensive things. That’s probably it. Other than that, it’s kind of stayed the same style.
You have any keys to your wardrobe? Stuff you feel like you have to have before you leave the house?
JW: I like G-Star a lot. I always gotta have me some adidas on. Most of the time I try to put something on with my logo in it. Always. I got my own stuff that I always try to wear so it’s fun and exciting to have the opportunity to have your own.
You have a favorite colorway for the J Wall 1?
JW: I like the green one, the Christmas one. Those are my favorite ones.
How often do you wear those off the court?
JW: All the time. Every road trip I always throw some shoes on. I’ve been wearing my All-Star ones all week so it’s been fun.
What’s that like, having your own signature shoe?
JW: It was great. My teammates always be joking with me like, “Well, at least you can throw on your own shoe” because they be wearing other people’s shoes on the plane. They’ll be like, “At least you can wear your own shoe.” It’s exciting.
What’s something you like rocking that most people wouldn’t expect?
JW: I like my stuff slim fit, fitted. Some people like wearing it, some people don’t like wearing fitted. I like slim fit. Growing up, I wore big, baggy pants. When I was 15 or 16, I wore a size 40 or 44. You know what size I wear now? Thirty-six. Imagine I was like 5-8 wearing a 44. (Laughs) That’s how bad I used to look.
You get a chance to check out LeBron’s fashion show?
JW: That was fun. I had the opportunity to talk about Walt “Clyde” Frazier and Allen Iverson’s style before, what it was into what it is now.
It’s crazy how much style has changed.
JW: Yeah. The crazy thing is in probably another five or 10 years it might get back to being baggy clothes again, you know what I mean, so you never know. I remember when people started wearing the little tight stuff, people were like, “Nah, I’m not wearing it.” Now everybody is wearing it so you never know. Style gonna keep switching and being in rotation.
What’s the best mixtape or album that you’ve listened to recently?
JW: I liked Lil Wayne’s. I like Future’s. Drake just dropped a new one. I like a lot of people. A lot of people got good music coming out. Even J. Cole. He’s from North Carolina and that’s probably the best album of the year. It kind of surprised people and crept up on them late so he waited until the end to drop one.
You’re a big J. Cole fan, right?
JW: Yeah. He took us back to the roots, though, man, all of his stories that you probably did as a kid. My favorite song is “Wet Dreams.” (Laughs) Everybody can relate to having that song on their mind.
How do you feel about the new Drake mixtape?
JW: I like it. He just did it like Beyonce, he just dropped something out of the blue and not give up the date. Now you know that every time he drops something, it’s going to be hot. Everybody is happy to see it so it’s exciting.
Who do you think is the best rapper doing it right now?
JW: You got a lot of people. My favorite rapper is Lil Wayne but Meek Mill is nice, all of those guys like Yo Gotti, Future. Right now I’d probably say Drake. Every time he drops something it is always hot. You’re not disappointed when he drops something.
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