John Wall meets thousands of fans every year, but his recall is surprisingly good. Nitin Ramachandran discovered that on Saturday when Wall recognized him at his basketball camp, according to a heartwarming story in The Washington Post.
Nitin first met Wall in late 2015 through Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic. Then 13 years old, Nitin was in the middle of the fight of his life, undergoing treatments for brain cancer. Make-A-Wish partnered with the Wizards to give him a full day living his dreams.
In the morning, he ate breakfast with Wall and went to shoot around with the team. Then he ran out of the tunnel with the Wizards and was announced as part of the starting lineup in pregame. Nitin watched the game -- a win in double-overtime -- from courtside seats, then joined coach Randy Wittman for a post-game presser before hanging out with Wall in the locker room.
Now 14 years old and without evidence of disease, Nitin credits that day with helping him turn the corner in his fight with cancer.
“I was going through a lot of tough times,” he told The Post. “It was one of the worst parts of my treatment, and [I was] thinking about doctor appointments the next day and the next day, about what’s next in my treatment, what’s the next thing I have to endure. When this came, it was great for me. It cheered me up. The impact it had on my recovery was really immense … and my parents could really see it turn in my recovery after such a great time I had.”
Since then, Nitin has traveled around the country telling his story at Make-A-Wish fundraisers. His story helped raise more than $100,000 at a recent event, according to the Post.
Which brings us back to Wall's basketball camp this past weekend. Nitin's mother tried to explain to her son that the Wizards star attends so many events and meets so many people, he may not remember or recognize Nitin (especially now that his hair had grown back).
That was absolutely not the case.
“Holy [bleep],” Wall recalled of running into his one-game teammate. “I told my sister, that’s my guy Nitin right there.”
“I’m just great with names; faces and names I’m pretty cool with,” Wall said. “It was amazing meeting him [again]. I remembered him from the Make-a-Wish thing. He came and we won the big game when he was there; he got called in the starting lineup when we signed him. And at the time, he was going through a lot — fighting and really going through his therapies and stuff.”
Being a die-hard Wizards fan who proudly remembers when Wall was drafted (Nitin was 8 years old at the time), the teen was especially excited to see a photo of himself and his account tagged on the Wizards star's Instagram page.
Make sure to check out The Post story for more on Nitin's remarkable journey.