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Holding back tears, John Wall thanks his mom in Kentucky HOF speech

Holding back tears, John Wall thanks his mom in Kentucky HOF speech

On Friday evening, John Wall was inducted to the Kentucky Hall-of-Fame, but it was not the memories of Wall's historic time at the University of Kentucky that was the theme of the night.

Rather it was Wall's speech and when he gave a tear-jerking section of it talking about his mom. 

“And last but not least – can you stand up – can ya’ll give recognition to my mom, Frances Pully.”

**pauses for applause**

“I hope she don’t cry and I told her I wouldn’t cry but it might get a little difficult tonight. Ummm, I just want to thank yo-“ pasues to hold back tears. “I want to say thank you for being my mom.

"I know it’s tough growing up with me and my two sisters, seeing my dad go to jail at a young age. You sacrificing everything. I’ve seen you pick me up to school, take me to school, and only pick me up from school. I always wondered what it feel like to be able to do things for my mom, I never had the chance. You know uh, you always told me, when I was sixteen you said, you know Iwas a hard-headed kid, I know you used to hate when I was in kindergarten. You had to sit in the parking a lot of the time because I could never stay in school for more than in 30 minutes, I was always getting kicked out. And she had to drive 45 minutes to take me to school.”

“Then all of a sudden, I started playing AAU basketball. I meet one of my close friends D.J., we call him Grizzly, and she would miss a lot tournaments but she would sacrifice sometimes not paying the light bill just so I could to go play basketball. Then when I was sixteen-years-old, I kept getting in trouble, she took basketball away from me.  She said, ‘you could go down the same road as your daddy, your brothers or you could be somebody special and change our families lives.’ And that is when I want to thank Coach Cal. My senior year I got a breaking and entering charge, just doing some dumb stuff to a kid that had an opportunity to go college. And one of the first people that came down there in 24 hours was Coach Cal. And he said, ‘listen you’re coming to school, I’m getting you away from here.’ And a lot of coaches would have ran from that they wouldn’t have believed on me, they would have gave up on me. And see what I did, see what I accomplished, and the person I have became, I couldn’t thank nobody else.”

“I want to thank you mom for being who you are, being a strong, powerful woman, having that gritty attitude that some people look at me and see in my face and they say ‘Well John Wall is not approachable.’ Well I get it from my mom. And I’m cool with that because when you really get to know me I’m really a loyal person, I’m a family person. And I just want to thank you for being my mom. I wouldn’t ask for nobody else in this world to be my mom. I hope whoever I marry, whoever the mom to my kid, they can be just as strong as you is [sic] and just as powerful."

To see this section of his speech, click the video at the top of the page.

RELATED VIDEO: JOHN WALL'S FULL KENTUCKY HOF SPEECH

Once Wall's moment was over, he broke out his legendary Kentucky jersey, a little tighter than from eight years ago.

"It feels good to put this back on one more time too."

Before he left the stage and the night was done, he entertained with his famous, arm-flexing John Wall dance. 

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Wizards hold off Pistons behind Otto Porter's huge night, John Wall's double-double

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards hold off Pistons behind Otto Porter's huge night, John Wall's double-double

The Washington Wizards beat the Detroit Pistons 115-111 on Friday night at Capital One Arena. Here's analysis of what went down...

How it happened: Part of what the Wizards need from Otto Porter now that he has received a max contract is more on the offensive end, the more-than-occasional game where he takes pressure off of John Wall and Bradley Beal with a convincing offensive effort. They got just that in a win over the Pistons on Friday night.

While the team struggled mightily on defense early, Porter helped keep them in it with 20 points in the first half. He shot 9-for-13 from the field and didn't hit one three-pointer. Porter kept it going with six points in the third quarter and ended up with 26.

The Pistons had their way on offense throughout the first half. They led 65-58 and shot 55.1 percent. Despite shooting 63.2 percent themselves, the Wizards trailed by seven after two quarters.

Washington led 91-81 after three and saw that lead grow to 15 with a 7-2 run to begin the fourth. That push was keyed by mostly bench players after they struggled to maintain momentum in the first half. Once they started to lose grip and let the Pistons cut the lead to 98-90 with 8:19 remaining, Scott Brooks called a timeout and brought the starters back in. That didn't exactly stop the bleeding, as an Avery Bradley three locked the game at 102-102 with five minutes left.

Detroit kept answering the bell when the Wizards would make a push. Rookie Luke Kennard (11 points), the 13th overall pick out of Duke, was impressive off their bench. Andre Drummond grabbed 12 rebounds, but fouled out with 9:15 left in the fourth. Tobias Harris (15 points, three rebounds) didn't recreate his monster season-opener, but was effective nonetheless.

Beal helped close out the win with a pivotal and-1 layup with 2:06 left. He was challenged by Jon Leuer at the rim, but got it to go in off the glass. That put the Wizards up 111-106. Wall then secured the victory with a block on Reggie Jackson with 14 seconds left. Jackson charged the lane and Wall swatted it away with his left hand.

Wall (20 points, 10 assists, two blocks) had his first double-double of the season despite committing six turnovers. Beal dropped 20 points to go along with four assists and three boards. Marcin Gortat had an average night compared to his season-opener with 10 points and six rebounds. 

The Wizards moved to 2-0 on the year with two wins against teams that could be in the Eastern Conference playoff picture come April.

What it means: The Wizards took care of business with two wins at home before they head west. That may end up looking very important in hindsight. 

Smith sidelined: Jason Smith was held out with a sprained right shoulder. Kelly Oubre, Jr. got the start in his place and got the game started with a steal and dunk on the other end for the Wizards' first points. Overall, Oubre didn't make nearly the impact he did in the season opener. He finished with four points and six rebounds in 35 minutes.

Wall put on a show: Wall's numbers may look modest by his standards, but he was lighting up the highlight reel on both ends of the floor. He crossed up Jackson for a nasty stepback jumper in the first quarter. In the second quarter he blocked Harris, who is a power forward. How many point guards can do that, like, in the history of the game? Not many. 

Wall also had this beautiful layup on the fastbreak:

Bench a mixed bag: The Wizards were starting to take control in the third quarter when backup shooting guard Jodie Meeks helped them grow their lead. He had six points in the third and came out with an early three in the fourth. He finished with nine points in 15 minutes. The bench, however, had another uneven night. Tim Frazier went scoreless for the second straight game, but did dish four assists. 

Up next: The Wizards have the weekend off before heading out on a very early West Coast trip. They see the upstart Denver Nuggets first on Monday night. That one tips off at 9 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

[RELATED: THE FUNNY REASON FOR MCCULLOUGH'S NICKNAME]

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Kelly Oubre, Jr. may take on larger role due to injuries, and rebounding could be key

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Kelly Oubre, Jr. may take on larger role due to injuries, and rebounding could be key

The Wizards have two players sidelined at the moment and both happen to play the same position. Markieff Morris was already out following the sports hernia surgery he had in September, then Jason Smith sprained his right shoulder defending a dunk attempt by Joel Embiid in the regular season opener on Wednesday night.

This has put head coach Scott Brooks in a tough predicament. He's trying to acclimate new players into his rotation, but now has no choice but to get creative. Smith is considered questionable for Friday night and is likely going to be limited, regardless when he returns.

If Smith misses time or is not 100 percent, the onus will fall mostly on third-year forward Kelly Oubre, Jr. with Mike Scott behind him. Oubre is not a power forward, but is versatile enough to co-exist with Otto Porter alongside John Wall, Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat. The Wizards utilized that lineup last season at times and relied on it heavily once Smith departed Wednesday night's game. Porter could be looked as the four in that group, but he and Oubre are essentially interchangable on defense.

Oubre, 21, came through with 14 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals against the Sixers. He knocked down three three-pointers and shot 5-of-10 from the field overall.

"I'm ready. I've worked for this moment. The season is here, so it's time to put the work to the test," Oubre said. "I feel very confident. I feel very relaxed. This is Year 3, so I'm excited for all the opportunities that may come."

[RELATED: OUBRE THREW DOWN A CRAZY DUNK VS. SIXERS]

Those eight rebounds stand out, in particular. Oubre averaged 3.3 rebounds last season, his second year in the NBA, in 20.3 minutes. Oubre had 14 in one of their preseason games and has clearly put extra focus on that part of his game.

One reporter (me) asked Oubre about his 'seven' rebounds in the opener and Oubre issued a quick correction, showing exactly how much attention he's paying to the stat.

"I had eight in the opener, but yeah," he said. "It's a big emphasis because that's what we need. We need guys to go in there and rebound, push the break and keep up the pace. That's the style of play that we're looking for, to play fast and play tough. Crashing the boards is something that I need to do to help the team."

Brooks sees a lot of potential in Oubre's ability on the glass. 

"I look at rebounding as a stat that Kelly can really be consistent with. He has the size, the strength, the length and the athleticism and the toughness to get in there and get some rebounds. I think you should be able to see [eight] every night. It's one of the things we talked about to improve defensively. We have to be a better defensive team," Brooks said.

The Wizards miss a lot more than rebounding if Morris and Smith aren't in the picture, of course. But Oubre's development in that area could be important in the Wizards' effort to compensate for two key injuries at the same position.

[RELATED: GORTAT PLAYED WITH A HEAVY HEART VS. SIXERS]