John Wall‘s breakout season is continuing at NBA All-Star Weekend. Not long before he was named Dunker of the Night during the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest, he took some time to sit with us at the adidas suite in the French Quarter. His growth as a NBA professional transcends the basketball court and has been on full display as adidas has maked him one of their featured athletes. Wall opened up about his thoughts on the dunk contest, his career season, the Washington Wizards and the new shoe he is rocking this weekend.
[RELATED: John Wall's Top 15 Dunks]
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Dime: You are part of the new breed of elite point guards in the NBA but do you think this All-Star selection solidifies your standing in this group?
John Wall: Yeah definitely. I think we have a great group of talented point guards in the league even though some of them have been diagnosed with injuries lately. But we still have some young, talented point guards and I think this is a big step for me to move my career forward. I believe in myself and need to set my goals because I believe I can be one of the top point guards in the league.
Dime: A lot of people were surprised that you are participating in the dunk contest. Did the NBA contact you about being in the dunk contest or did you ask them?
JW: They have been asking me since my rookie year but I wasn’t really healthy enough to participate. So I just took my time and basically said if I make the All-Star Game that I’d get in the dunk contest. So I threw myself in there this year.
Dime: As a kid growing up watching the All-Star Weekend from home, did you always dream about being in the dunk contest?
JW: Yeah but the bigger dream was making the All-Star team, first of all. But I like all those things; the skills challenge, three-point contest, the dunk contest… whatever you can do. Those are the dreams you set after you make the NBA.
Dime: What was your motivation for taking part when so many others with your level of status decline to participate? What makes you say yeah, I am going to go ahead and do that?
JW: Basically because like you said, it’s a dream come true. I’ve been watching all those guys like Vince Carter and Kobe (Bryant) who have been in it. And it’s just an opportunity for me to go out there and have fun.
Dime: What are your thoughts on the new format?
JW: I like it, I think it’s cool. The first round is basically a freestyle layup line and is about having fun. The second round is when you break out your best dunks and go toe-to-toe with a guy from the other conference.
Dime: So did you get a chance to talk with your teammates for the competition and develop a strategy?
JW: Yeah, we had practice [this week]. So we had an opportunity to go through some routines and dunks that we felt comfortable with and to try to make it as easy as possible for us to get a win.