John Wall is a very good basketball player. He was the Wizards' first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and has since become one of the preeminent members of the team and a three-time All-Star. Some guys—hell, a lot of guys—would be OK with that narrative alone. But Wall isn't just a basketball player. He's also deeply involved with his community in both his current home of Washington, D.C., and his native Raleigh, North Carolina.
The 25-year-old point guard just won the 2016 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his efforts. And today, he's partnering up with high-end online consignment shop The RealReal to sell a portion of his wardrobe—think Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, and Zegna—to benefit his own organization, the John Wall Family Foundation. He told Esquire what it's like to lead an NBA team as a teenager, what he thinks about fashion, and why he's so set on giving back to those around him.
His interview with Esquire:
Esquire.com: Joining a franchise like the Wizards at such a young age—and being thrust into a leadership position almost immediately—must be extremely difficult. How did you deal with that pressure?
John Wall (JW): I believed in myself from day one. When I made the decision to leave Kentucky and enter the NBA, I surrounded myself with family and friends who cared about me and would not allow the many pressures of the game on and off the court to weigh me down. They weren't afraid to tell me when I was wrong, and they didn't give up on me as I worked to navigate this industry. It can be very overwhelming if you don't have a great support team.
Some pretty rare stuff in your upcoming sale on The RealReal. Have you always been into fashion, or did your interest in it develop over time?
JW: I have always loved fashion, but it wasn't until I came to the league that I really started paying attention to clothes and shoes. It's a way for me to express myself and I like to have fun with it. Right now, I like Fear of God pieces, BAPE; a lot of fun stuff. I like Balmain and Mike Amiri jeans and my own 5 Deep and Wall Way jackets, T-shirts, and hats. Most of my suits are custom made, so I like the three-piece fit. I think the way I play the game sometimes inspires my style. I like different designers and their looks: Tom Ford, DSquared2, LV, or HBA. We all like to look good, just in our own way.
Why did you decide to part with this particular gear?
JW: The reason for making these particular items available for the sale is that as I continue to grow and evolve, there is a change in the things I wear. So when I saw that there was an opportunity to help those less fortunate, I jumped at the chance to make a difference through my foundation.
Let's talk about that. The proceeds all go to the John Wall Family Foundation. Could you tell me a bit more about it and why you decided to start it?
JW: I believe in giving back, and my foundation allows me to do that. It's important for me to support the communities that have supported me both in D.C. and Raleigh. And being able to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged families and impact the lives of at-risk youth through mentorship, education, and physical activity is what the John Wall Family Foundation is all about. I've said it before: I'm more than just a basketball player. I've been blessed to play the game I love on the highest professional level, and I will use this blessing to help others.