Wizards star John Wall spent his offseason using the cryptic hashtag #wolfseason on workout photos posted to Instagram, leaving his fans and the media to fill in the blanks. Then, after helping the Wizards beat the Sixers on opening night last week, he proclaimed that it's 'Wolf Season' and only added "just keep watching" when asked for an explanation.
Well, now we have that explanation from the man himself and it has a connection to Michael Jackson. Wall appeared on the Wizards Tipoff podcast over the weekend and told the backstory. The name was created by his childhood friend and security guard Dave 'Flave' Best.
"I'm in Wolf Mode. I'm on the attack," Wall said.
The whole idea revolves around his main purpose for ramping up his offseason workouts this summer. He wanted to get into better shape with the end of playoff games in mind.
"The beginning of games, that I'm great with. Sometimes coach might play me a full 24 or a full 12 minutes, whatever me might do. I've gotta prepare myself and I think that's what I trained this summer for, to do that," he said.
Wall, 27, went through the preseason and has now played two regular season games. The early returns, he said, are noticeable.
"I feel great, just being in better shape and being able to commit myself on both ends of the floor," he said. "I'm just trying to make it tough on defenders and making big stops."
Defense is a big part of it and it's clear Wall is focusing heavily on that area of his game. He couldn't help but bring up one specific play in the Wizards' second game against the Pistons where he wasn't happy with his performance.
"I think I played great defensively yesterday other than that one big three I gave up to Avery [Bradley] when we was up 113-108," he said.
So, how does this relate to the 'King of Pop?' Wall says part of Wolf Season is 'Thrilla Mode,' an ode to when Jackson turned into a wolf in the music video for the classic 'Thriller.'
"When I used the later picture, that was what it was for, to turn into a wolf," Wall said, referencing an Instagram post from September.
"That's Wolf Season, just locked in," he said.
Between 'Death Row D.C.' and Wolf Season/Thrilla Mode, Wall and the Wizards have good taste in the music they draw inspiration from.
Listen to Wall's full 1-on-1 interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast:
And for more on Wolf Season, check out Chris Miller's video on what it means for the rest of the NBA: