Washington Wizards: I Thank You

Apr 28, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (facing camera) celebrates with head coach Scott Brooks after their game against the Atlanta Hawks in game six of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 28, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (facing camera) celebrates with head coach Scott Brooks after their game against the Atlanta Hawks in game six of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Wizards couldn’t reach the conference finals for the first time in 38 years, but there is plenty to be proud of. This team took fans on a magical ride over the course of the year, and deserves to be remembered.

Thank you to the Washington Wizards for taking us along on this magical journey with you.

Thank you for believing in your fans, when some had stopped believing in you (I wasn’t one of them :).

I would like to first thank Kelly Oubre, Jr. I had no intention of going home to Massachusetts for Game 5. But I knew the hostile environment that the team would walk into. But those vulgar chants were beyond the pale.

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Yet, Oubre, we have seen you grown from the freshman last season, to skipping all the classes in between to become one of the veterans on the team.

The way you held your head high among the cantankerous crowd, is something that has left an indelible impression on me. Because you didn’t let the crowd take you out of the game.

You stayed locked in. The NBA has witnessed another player whose competitive juices ran high in a hostile environment, and that was Reggie Miller. Great things are in store for you, and for those who will continue to watch you.

Next, Bradley Beal. Beal has been the butt of many jokes, due to his various injuries. But you rose to the occasion this season. On Friday, when you knocked down 33 points, to Monday when you added 38 points. In both games you led all scorers.

Sometimes you played hurt, like on Monday when you were holding your hand. But you took precaution earlier this season when you had a hamstring sprain, and sat out two games.

You took better care of your body this season. And your mind. You chose to fight this season, whether it was Golden State or the Cleveland Cavaliers.

You went from a Panda Bear to a Yeti. And on Friday, you’ll be forever known as Mr. Clutch.

A while back you said, there are two leaders on this team and took some slack for it. But there truly are, between John Wall and yourself. I didn’t see Wall yelling at his players on Monday (although he did on court).

The TNT camera panned to you standing up by the bench, screaming at your troops, “at my signal, unleash hell.”

You have come a long way, Mr. Beal. As I was watching Monday’s game, a brother who visited, (I know readers are like, how many does she have? 5, and I’m the only girl), after a pull up three, he said, he’s really good. Then he said, he truly is a max player.

That was indeed high praise, not because he’s smarter than me, but because this brother’s favorite player is Stephen Curry.

Last season, when I asked him to vote Wall to the All-Star Game, he said, “No one wants to see Wall and his Dougie”. We almost came to blows.

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But I had never spoken about Beal to my brother

He witnessed himself someone who could go toe-toe to Curry. If not this year, definitely next year, you will be the best shooting guard in the league. Just keep eating what Mama Beal’s been feeding you.

Otto Porter, the fans love you, they see you as the homegrown hero, because you hail from Georgetown. You have seen growth as well, and I’ve seen ice in your veins when you played Golden State at home, as you lit them up.

Markieff Morris, Keef, aka are you really Marcus? You are such a great addition to this team.

You’re also a leader by example. Last season, the Wizards lacked toughness, and you brought that in spades.

I remember when we played Sacramento and you and Boogie Cousins started circling each other. And I said, it’s like King Kong and Godzilla circling. But Boogie “saw” your point, and Verizon Center still stands.

You put the “Power” in Power Forward. You will never be called a Stretch 4 by me, at least not to your face.

Your toughness and fortitude has transcended to the entire team, even to Coach Scott Brooks. I couldn’t believe Brooks got a technical earlier this season, I had to rewind. And indeed his glasses were crooked.

You’re a great outside shooter, and clutch when your team needs you. You’re the best thing to happen to this team in a long time. And you’re a big baby at heart. After your brother beat us earlier this season in Detroit, the camera panned to you lifting up the shoulder part of his jersey to hide you giving him a kiss.

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Marcin Gortat, also known as the Polish Hammer, there has always been a toughness about you. You quietly do your job, and seemingly never complain on the court. You’re a credit to your country and to this city. There’s more toughness inside of you, that you must unleash.

John Wall. True, you don’t get the recognition that your game deserves. I don’t know why. I mean I have an idea, but you have an agent who can tell you.

But this city has always loved you, and will crush anyone who says otherwise, I know.

You are the leader of this team. And although, you don’t know it, also a leader in this city for those in certain parts who feel like they have been forgotten.

Children without fathers, look up to you, and sometimes you’re the only male figure in their life. You’re truly a leader both on and off the court.

You’re fearless to a fault. I don’t understand this best point guard in the East. Growing up Magic Johnson was my favorite player, because he saw the court and never gave up. Johnson was a true point guard, he passed first and asked questions later. That’s what you do. So if that’s the definition, you’re the best.

You make Gortat and the rest of your team look better. The rest of the world took note of who you are these playoffs.

The endorsements will come. Although Johnson was my guy, it didn’t go unnoticed when Michael Jordan hit back at his detractors, when he signed a new contract. He basically said, “where were you when I was underpaid all those years.”

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Have patience John Wall. They will come. But you own this city. You gained the nation’s respect, and that is the greatest endorsement of them all.

Coach Scott Brooks, you took a team, where one player was going one way and another player going another way, and you put it all together. Any discourse didn’t go an inch, you squashed it the second it reared it’s head. You taught the team, that there is only one team.

What you did in one year, is beyond miraculous. It was like watching the Bad News Bears, the original, going up against defending champions and knocking them down.

Last night, I was going to write another article, but it will come later, when you guys are far away on some island we have never heard of.

But you gave us all hope. You taught us – it doesn’t matter where we start, what adversity comes our way, that we too can rise above it all.

My favorite childhood poem and still favorite is If by Rudyard Kipling. My favorite passage is the third paragraph (stanza) and last line. And those passages encapsulate what the Washington Wizards embodied this season.

Next: Should Wizards Fans be Excited for Next Season?

The Washington Wizards taught its fans and critics this season, if you choose not to give up hope and continue on, you too will have the heart of a champion.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.