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John Wall, Stephen A. Smith 'Rosebar' beef plays out in Wizards' win with Smith courtside

John Wall, Stephen A. Smith 'Rosebar' beef plays out in Wizards' win with Smith courtside

Exactly 18 months to the day after John Wall hit the biggest shot of his career in Game 6 against the Celtics, and Markieff Morris slapped Stephen A. Smith on the rear in celebration, Smith was back in Washington for more.

Smith had ignited NBA Twitter with an epic tirade about Wall and the Wizards, how the team should be blown up and how Wall was spending too much time at clubs instead of focusing on his craft. He even named a place he thinks Wall frequents, Rosebar in Northwest Washington.

Whether Wall goes there enough to deserve that sort of ridicule on national television or not, it stuck. Memes were made of Wall wearing a Wizards jersey, photoshopped with 'Rosebar' on the front. Wall even admitted the picture was funny in an Instagram Live address to his fans.

So there Smith was, down from ESPN's studios in New York, sitting in the front row and ready to face the very team he blasted out in the open. To his credit, Smith often does this. Soon after he tears the Wizards to shreds, he makes an appearance to back up his words.

He picked a good game to come down. Wall, who was coming off a 28-point performance in a win over the Heat, carried it over against the Magic and with Smith sitting baseline, just steps away from the Wizards' bench. 

Wall lit up Orlando for a clean 25 points, 10 assists, four rebounds, a block and a steal in just 33 minutes of work. He shot 9-for-15 from the field and 2-for-3 from three.

After a sluggish start to the season, Wall has turned things up in his last five games. During that stretch, he's averaged 24.4 points, 9.6 assists and 2.4 steals while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from three (10-for-23).

After he diced up the Magic, Wall was asked if Smith's rants and the jokes that swept across the NBA-obsessed corners of the internet had anything to do with his recent tear. He declined.

"Nah," he said with his eyes peering through gold-rimmed sunglasses. "I'm used to it."

His teammates disagree. Shooting guard Bradley Beal believes that is exactly what happened.

"Y'all pissed him off, man. It's y'all's fault," Beal said, speaking of the media in general. 

"He's going to come out and play like Wolf Wall. That's what we need him to do... That's just John. We need him to do that. We need him to lead the ship."

The results at least somewhat back up Beal's claims. Since we're on the subject, how about some pre-Rosebar rant and post-Rosebar rant splits? They don't calculate those on Basketball Reference, so these were done the old fashioned way, by hand.

Before Smith went off, the Wizards were 2-8 and Wall was averaging only 7.6 assists and shooting 28.6 percent from three. After Smith's diatribe, the Wizards are 2-1 with Wall posting 10.3 assists per game while knocking down 45.5 percent from long range.

Sure, those numbers are selective, but this isn't scientific research. It's just a credible theory from a guy in Beal who his in the midst of his seventh season playing with Wall. He knows what makes Wall tick and he saw a difference in him on Monday night.

"I'm happy you guys lit a little flame up under him. He got us going. He got us all going," he said.

Beal wasn't the only Wizards player to notice Smith was in attendance. After a shot Wall made with 4:17 to go in the fourth quarter, guard Austin Rivers pointed in Smith's direction during the ensuing timeout. They sensed Wall was proving Smith and all of his haters wrong, regardless of whether he would admit it or not.

Of course, Wall already has plenty of motivation to play well and doesn't need someone like Smith or anyone in the media to get him going. But his teammates, and Wizards fans, will take it.

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Wizards release united statement in response to the death of George Floyd

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Wizards release united statement in response to the death of George Floyd

While protests continue across the country following the death of George Floyd, the world's biggest sports figures, including Michael Jordan and LeBron James, have used their platforms to make it clear where they stand on the numerous social issues fueling the protests.

You can now add the Washington Wizards to that group. Early Monday morning, the Wizards posted a "united statement" on social media in response to Floyd's death and the protests that have followed.

Included in the post are four separate statements.

"We will no longer tolerate the assassination of people of color in this country."

"We will no longer accept the abuse of power from law enforcement."

"We will no longer accept ineffective government leaders who are tone-deaf, lack compassion or respect for communities of color."

"We will no longer shut up and dribble."

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura were among players to share the same statements on Instagram.

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Athletes react to death of George Floyd, ongoing civil unrest in Minneapolis, other cities

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Athletes react to death of George Floyd, ongoing civil unrest in Minneapolis, other cities

The death of George Floyd has caused outrage across the country, with thousands protesting in several American cities demanding justice.

Several prominent athletes, including former NBA legend Michael Jordan, Lakers forward LeBron James, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and many others, have taken to social media to share their thoughts on the ongoing protests and civil unrest.

Jordan released a statement on Sunday sharing his thoughts on the situation. 

James sent out this tweet early Sunday morning asking "Why does America not love us?"

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence sent out a pair of tweets on Friday, stating that "love must outweigh hate."

United States national team midfielder Weston McKennie, who plays in the German Bundesliga for Schalke 04, sported an armband during his club's match this weekend that read "Justice for George Floyd."

After scoring a goal during Borussia Dortmund's Bundesliga match on Sunday, English winger Jadon Sancho took off his jersey and revealed his undershirt, which read "Justice for George Floyd."

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman sent out several tweets regarding Floyd's death and the protests.

Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler, a Minneapolis area native who played three seasons for the University of Minnesota, offered his take on the situation:

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett tweeted he "doesn't feel safe" in America after Floyd's death.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow tweeted this:

Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens shared his thoughts on the situation.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz:

Nationals closer Sean Doolittle shared his thoughts with this post, captioned "#BlackLivesMatter."

Wizards guard Bradley Beal engaged with several of his followers on Saturday, sending off multiple tweets about an array of topics surrounding the impact and style of the protests.

Mystics guard Natasha Cloud wrote a powerful piece in The Players Tribune, emphasizing that those who are staying silent during this situation is "a knee on her neck."

Monumental Sports and Entertainment said this on Sunday: 

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