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Wall still committed to 'buddy' Miyah, her family and fighting cancer


Wall still committed to 'buddy' Miyah, her family and fighting cancer

It was a moment Wizards fans will never forget -- John Wall sobbing through his postgame interview on the day he lost his "buddy" Miyah Telemaque-Nelson to pediatric cancer. 

He formed a special bond with the 5-year-old Wizards fan as she was battling Burkitt's lymphoma, an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

The All-Star point guard kept in touch with Miyah as she fought the disease, even arranging for her to meet her favorite artist, Nicki Minaj. He also checked in with her via FaceTime during her long hospitalizations at Children's National Medical Center. 

Her death devastated Wall, who lost his own father to cancer at only 9 years old, but hasn't lessened his investment in her family and keeping her memory alive.

“When you care for somebody and the bond just hits, you can’t really control it,” he said in a lengthy interview with Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. “I didn’t want it to be like ‘All right, she’s gone, I don’t want to deal with this family [anymore],’ because it was bigger than that. … I wanted to still be a part of that family.”

And he showed that commitment immediately when he spoke at Miyah's funeral -- something he hadn't done when his father passed. 

The little girl's mother, Kadisha Telemaque, shied away from the media attention Wall attracted, but remembers her daughter bringing out the childlike side of her NBA superstar friend. "[Wall] wasn't the 25-year-old that he is; he was a kid when he was with her," she said. "I don’t want anything to turn it from what it was, because he is just my daughter’s buddy, and a man that gave her hope with everything he did for her."

“It was heartfelt, to know that someone so little impacted someone so big.”

Before Miyah's death last year, she had hoped to walk in the Light The Night Walk to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, but relapsed for the final time before the event. Now Wall is sponsoring a team of her friends and family in the 2015 Light The Night Walk on Saturday October 17.

He promotes "Miyah's Troupe" almost daily on social media, encouraging his fans to donate money toward lymphoma research and join the group assembled to walk in place of the little girl.

Wall won't be able to attend because he has a game in Milwaukee that same night, but made a five-figure gift toward non-Hodgkin lymphoma research instead. 

His friendship with Miyah "didn’t just shine a light on her; it shined a light on her diagnosis that a lot of people didn’t know of,” Telemaque said. “It’s not just promoting a buddy anymore; he’s taking it a step further to now helping other people.”

You can help, too, by volunteering to walk or donating money through the "Miyah's Troupe" page

MORE WIZARDS: Kelly Oubre shifts focus to jump-start career with Wizards

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Wizards were reportedly unwilling to trade Bradley Beal in potential Jimmy Butler deal

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Wizards were reportedly unwilling to trade Bradley Beal in potential Jimmy Butler deal

A sluggish start and a handful of woefully inefficient defensive efforts had the Wizards looking for answers early into the 2018-19 NBA season.

But making a major trade was not something the Washington front office was willing to do. As the Jimmy Butler saga reached its climax in Minneapolis, the Timberwolves reportedly attempted to strike of a conversation with the Wizards regarding Bradley Beal.

The details, reported by Marc Stein in his latest New York Times newsletter (via ProBasketballTalk), are minimal, but it sounds like the Wizards quickly brushed the discussion aside as Beal has remained off-limits in their eyes.

Word is the Wolves did try to engage Washington — another team falling well short of expectations — in trade talks for the sharpshooting guard Bradley Beal. But the Wizards have kept Beal off limits amid their 4-9 start. They would naturally prefer to trade the struggling Otto Porter, or perhaps even John Wall, but both possess hard-to-move contracts. 

Otto Porter, like many of his teammates, started the season in the wrong direction. But trading Porter is a tricky situation, one the Wizards organization probably doesn't want to pursue given the contract he was signed to just over a year ago. Trying to trade John Wall would be even more difficult.

Ultimately, the Timberwolves dealt Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Wizards rattled off weekend wins over ht eHeat and Magic, and while not equal to making a blockbuster trade, it does show that the Wizards can make an internal fix to what ails them. 



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Otto Porter Jr., Ian Mahinmi react to new reality under Scott Brooks where minutes aren't guaranteed

Otto Porter Jr., Ian Mahinmi react to new reality under Scott Brooks where minutes aren't guaranteed

Through his first two seasons in Washington, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks was not known to make significant adjustments to his lineup. In his first season coaching the Wizards, 2016-17, he didn't really need to. They had the best season for the franchise, 49-33, since the 1970s.

Last year, the tweaks he made were largely by necessity. John Wall missed 41 games and he had to adjust.

What Brooks has been doing in recent games with his Wizards' rotation are something we haven't really seen before. First, he benched Ian Mahinmi for three games. Then, he sat Markieff Morris and Otto Porter Jr. in the fourth quarter. 

Morris returned to play fourth quarter minutes on Monday in their win against the Magic, but Porter remained on the bench, sitting in the last seat on the end with a towel over his head, rising periodically to clap and cheer on his teammates.

Such is life for the Wizards right now. They are off to a 4-9 start, well below their standards, and Brooks is doing whatever he can to right the ship. So far, those decisions have paid off, as they have won two straight games for the first time this season.

"We weren't winning, so I had to make some changes," Brooks said.

Brooks, it appears, has reached a new point in his tenure with the Wizards. He is willing to sit key players in his rotation, and ones that happen to make a good deal of money. Porter is the highest-paid player on the team, carrying a salary of $26 million and Mahinmi is not far behind at $15.9 million.

As Brooks insists, it isn't quite as simple as him deciding to bench a player. It has much to do with the flow of the game and how he simply has more options at his disposal this year.

Instead of Morris and Porter, he has rolled with Austin Rivers and Jeff Green in the fourth quarter. Both Rivers and Green weren't on the team last season.

Rivers gives them more speed in a three-guard lineup and plays physical defense on the perimeter. Green has been shooting lights-out and is one of their most versatile players on both ends of the floor.

The added depth on the Wizards' roster has set in a new reality for Brooks. The players are beginning to understand that.

"We do have depth. That's the thing," Porter said. "We have so many good players that are interchangeable. We're just finding ways to win."

"It is definitely evolving into something different that I haven't seen before," Mahinmi said. "I remember a few years back, it was a defined first unit and second unit. If the second unit was going, he would let them run and let it ride. With this roster, we have even more flexibility than last year."

Porter played just 22 minutes against the Magic. He has been held to under 24 minutes in three straight games. The lack of playing time has crushed his numbers. He has just 21 total points in those three outings.

Mahinmi is averaging only 14.1 minutes per game this season, his fewest since 2010-11. And that number is skewed by the fact he started six games to begin the year with Dwight Howard nursing an injury.

The evolving rotation has required an adjustment for the players. Though it doesn't change how they prepare for games, they now understand that surprises can happen.

"He's made a whole lot of change from a game-to-game basis. I'm with [everyone else]. I'm seeing it has it goes," Mahinmi said. "[It's like] 'I guess I'm not playing tonight.' Just stay ready. That's part of being a professional."

Mahinmi says he and other players aren't owed an explanation from Brooks when he makes those changes. And he is quick to say it doesn't bother him.

"As long as we win, I'm happy," he said.