In the newest iteration of the age-old saying "It's not goodbye, it's see you later," John Wall shared a heartfelt message to the team and city where he spent the first 10 years of his NBA career.
"I ain't saying a goodbye, I'm really saying a thank you," Wall said. "Because I'll be back there."'
Wall began his first public appearance as a Rockets player by describing the surreal feeling of being in a new place. A decade in one home market helped Wall memorize the city like the back of his own hand, but now he'll have to start anew.
The way he left the organization, though, was of the utmost class that has been a staple of the former No. 1 overall pick's time in the nation's capital.
"I think I did it the best way I could is to try and say my goodbyes to everybody that showed my respect and supported me throughout my 10 years there," Wall said. "Like I said, on June 25, 2010, when I got out that limo and walked the red carpet into what was then the Verizon, and now is the Capital One Arena, I had chills. I was a skinny kid, 19 years old with no facial hair and getting to know where I was going in life.
They watched me grow up to be this grown man that has two beautiful boys, has a family at home. That's all really I can say. I love them. My heart is always going to be there."
That introductory press conference with the Wizards for Wall more than 10 years ago was the most palpable example of just how much it meant to have a player of his caliber. It won't be something Wall or D.C. sports fans will soon forget, even if both parties are moving on.
"The way I touched the fans, the way I touched the community. That still exists today and will exist the day I walk this earth," Wall said. "I wish that whole team, the organization, the best of luck this year, but my focus is with the Rockets and to comeback and be an all-star player that everybody feel that I don't have no more."