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Wizards' star John Wall goes in-depth on racism and events in Charlottesville

Wizards' star John Wall goes in-depth on racism and events in Charlottesville

John Wall has always been one to speak his mind and answer questions directly, though politics isn't often his game. During the preseason last fall he was asked who he was voting for between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and his response was evasive. He didn't want to go there.

But the past week's events, starting with the protests in Charlottesville that included a woman getting killed by a white supremacist driving through a crowd, have clearly weighed on the Wizards' star point guard. Wall spoke at length about the current state of affairs at his charity event at Rosedale Community Center in Northeast Washington on a broiling Friday afternoon.

Wall met with the media, but first made an address to the kids and parents who showed up for his backpack giveaway and other charity efforts. He began by referencing Charlottesville.

"I know this week has been tough for our country with things not going the way we would want them to, but the most important thing is that you can't use that as retaliation. We've all got to treat each other as the same. No matter what color you are, we are all family. We're all in this world trying to make it more peaceful and promising than anything," he said.

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Afterwards, Wall spoke further about how this last week has affected him.

"It's very important [to give back], especially with what has been going on the past week or so in our country and the tough times that we're dealing with. I want the kids to understand that no matter what goes on, you can't use that to try to target nobody else. We're all one whole family. Even though we're different races, we're still one big family. We have to work to try to get things to as best the situation we can and keep it positive," he explained.

"It's been difficult [the last week]," Wall continued. "It's been tough. We go through times where things are going in the right direction for us and our country is going in positive ways, then we revert back to the stuff we try to tell our kids not to do, that our parents told us not to be. We are going through what we went through in the past when we thought we got away from that. It's kind of amazing to think that in 2017 and going into 2018, that we're still dealing with the same type of things that our great, great grandparents dealt with. We thought we were going in a positive direction. All we can do is not use it in retaliation. Try to stay positive and understand that we need to give these kids a brighter [outlook]. Don't use it to go back at these people."

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Wall was asked about the fact he's speaking out, as many athletes don't and he in the past hasn't been someone to delve into politics and current events. He feels now like he has no choice.

"If it's something I feel like I need to speak on, I will speak on it. I feel like with what we're going through, it's kind of tough. What everybody is saying is totally right. We thought we got past those things. Every year there is something that is reverting right back to it. It's something that we're going to have to deal with for the rest of our lives. But as long as we educate our kids and educate our people that we are role models to, and show them that we can't revert back to that, I think we'll be totally fine."

Wall has a platform as an NBA superstar and one that happens to play in Washington, where policies and laws are set. He relishes the power as someone kids look up to, knowing he can make a difference with what he says and does.

"It's me and my personality and what my mom wanted me to be growing up: not just a great basketball player, but having character as a young man. That's what a lot of people look at first. They look at the talents and the things that I do on the basketball court, but they understand how I carry myself off the court, with a clean image and trying to not do things to get in trouble. That's what I pride myself off of."

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Best moments from Wizards' loss to Hornets, including Oubre and Beal's big dunks

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USA Today Sports

Best moments from Wizards' loss to Hornets, including Oubre and Beal's big dunks

Here are the best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 129-124 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night...

1. The Wizards couldn't do much to stop Dwight Howard in this one, but he did have one of his shots blocked. It was by the rim, though.

Watch Howard rise for an alley-oop, only to be rejected by the rim. 

That was about the only thing Howard did wrong. He finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds.

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2. Bradley Beal didn't have a great shooting night, as he finished 7-for-22 despite dropping 22 points. He had a few nice dunks in the first half including this one:

3. John Wall had a strong game with 31 points and 11 assists on 13-of-26 shooting. This was his best assist, a thread-the-needle dish to Markieff Morris.

4. Here's another dunk from Beal, this one with two hands for good measure:

5. This was the best dunk of the night. Kelly Oubre, Jr. caught the Hornets sleeping with a nice putback slam. 

The Wizards closed their road trip a disappointing 1-2, but at least the game was entertaining.

[RELATED: BEAL'S BIG MILESTONE BY THE NUMBERS]

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Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

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USA Today Sports Images

Wizards have letdown on defense, fall to Hornets in overtime

The Washington Wizards lost the Charlotte Hornets 129-124 in overtime on Wednesday night at the Spectrum Center. Here's analysis of what went down...

Frustrating loss: The Wizards will not head into the Thanksgiving holiday a happy bunch. After an impressive road win at the Milwaukee Bucks, they let a winnable game slip away against the Hornets. They were up nine points with 3:32 left in the fourth, yet allowed the Hornets to force overtime and then dominate the extra period.

Defense was the problem for Washington. After holding opponents to 95 points or less in six of their last seven games, the Wizards gave up 129 points to an average offensive team. Yes, 15 of those points came in overtime, but the Wizards won't be happy with their defense after this one. They will probably regret the 53 bench points they gave up more than anything.

Beal, Wall heated up late: Neither John Wall or Bradley Beal had a rhythm in the first half, but both woke up later on for the Wizards. Wall had eight points in the first half, but on 3-for-11 shooting. Beal had seven points, but also on 3-for-11 from the field.

Stars can only be held in check for so long and Wall and Beal broke ultimately broke through. Wall had 11 points in the third quarter and Beal had seven. 

For a while it looked like Wall and Beal had taken the game over, but the Wizards couldn't take advantage despite Wall ending up with 31 points and 11 assists and Beal having 22 points, four rebounds and two steals.

Beal's night was highlighted by a series of dunks in the first half, including this one with two hands:

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Howard was a beast: The Wizards did a good job limiting Dwight Howard this past spring when they faced the Hawks in the playoffs, but they had no such luck on Wednesday in their first meeting with Howard's Hornets. Howard was dominant down low with 26 points and 13 rebounds. The Hornets did a good job feeding him in the post and when he has position there are little options beyond sending him to the free throw line. 

Marcin Gortat (eight points, 11 rebounds) is a good match for Howard on most nights. They know each other well as former teammates with the Orlando Magic. Gortat had a fine game, but Howard was at his best on Wednesday. He was coming off of a 25-point, 20-rebound performance and he kept it going against the Wizards.

Howard also blocked Beal's buzzer-beater at the end of regulation. Beal got the ball with two seconds left and tried driving to his left down the baseline. Howard read the move and swatted the ball out of bounds. Howard then had a big bucket with less than a minute to go. He had a putback on an airballed three that was a backbreaker for the Wizards, who needed a stop.

Meeks and Scott were a plus: The Wizards got a nice boost from their bench from Jodie Meeks (nine points) and Mike Scott (13 points), two guys who have proven this season to be instant offense when they're at their best. Scott came in and hit a three with a pair of midrange jumpers in the first half. Meeks was getting it down in the paint with floaters and layups on nice cuts to the basket. 

Scott hit three threes and is now shooting 44.8 percent for the season. It's only on 29 attempts, but that's not bad at all.

Lamb was a problem: The Wizards had a lot of trouble with Hornets reserve Jeremy Lamb, who has been Charlotte's most improved player so far this season. He was a force off the bench with 24 points in 37 minutes. Lamb has always had a lot of potential as a freak athlete with a sweet jumper. He may be starting to truly put it all together.

The Wizards even tried Kelly Oubre, Jr., one of their best defenders, on him. But Lamb kept getting buckets and added seven rebounds and five assists. 

Up next: The Wizards are off for Thanksgiving and Friday. They pick back up on Saturday with the Portland Trail Blazers in town. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

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