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Why are Stephen A. Smith and John Wall feuding? A quick guide

Why are Stephen A. Smith and John Wall feuding? A quick guide

It all started with the Wizards struggles earlier this season.

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith went on a few of his signature rants about John Wall and the Wizards' poor play, like this one after the Wizards' loss to Dallas.  "I like John Wall," he said on First Take. "John Wall is an All-Star. John Wall can play. Then this year arrived. For some reason, a man that struggled with his perimeter shooting comes back and is shooting worse! I don’t give a damn about the 46 percent… he can’t get to the whole with the ease that he used to! He’s actually bigger! He looks out of shape. That’s a problem."

It wasn't the only time he criticized Wall this season - and it wasn't with the context of what was going on with the Wizards guard.

Wall was dealing with bone spurs that were so painful he often walked on his tippy toes to the bathroom at night, he revealed on Monday.

And while talking about his injury and decision to have season-ending surgery on Monday, the Wizards guard seemed to call out Smith for what ended up being unwarranted criticism. As NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes wrote:

"When people say 'you're just shutting down because you're not going to be an All-Star,' that has nothing to do with it for me at all," he said.

Naturally, that brought a follow-up question. Though the source of that theory was never mentioned, Wall said it should be obvious.

"You know who the guy is," he said.

Smith, spotting the headline noting that his criticism was mentioned in Wall's press conference on Monday, tweeted in defense of himself:

Which Wall wasn't about to let go unanswered:

No word yet if they'll agree to make up in the new year.

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Many Wizards players plan to wear social justice messages on back of jerseys

Many Wizards players plan to wear social justice messages on back of jerseys

The NBA's initiative allowing players to wear social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys, instead of their last names, in Orlando is being fully embraced by members of the Washington Wizards.

Ian Mahinmi and Moe Wagner have said they will wear 'vote.' Troy Brown Jr. and Jerome Robinson will wear 'Black Lives Matter.' Shabazz Napier says he has chosen 'equality' as his message.

RELATED: WAGNER TO WEAR 'VOTE' ON JERSEY

Every Wizards player who has been asked during media availability from Disney World so far has committed to participating. Their reasons are specific to the person, but they are in unity when it comes to the overall message.

"I play 82 games with my name on the back of my jersey," Brown said. "To have an opportunity to put something that I truly believe in and that needs to be addressed on the back of my jersey, I took that opportunity and am definitely going to make the most of it."

"I think for me, I will put 'Black Lives Matter' on the back of my jersey just because that is the biggest symbol of representation of what we have going on right now," Robinson said. "Through the whole quarantine, with the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the amount of people that were murdered for no reason at all, or for terrible reasoning; I think it's the biggest symbol on one of the biggest platforms."

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In asking the players, it's clear they thought deeply about which message to choose. The NBA gave them options that also include 'justice' and 'I can't breathe.' 

For Napier, there were many layers to his decision to wear 'equality.'

"I think in this world, in this moment right now, we're fighting amongst each other, whether it's black or white or women or men. I think for us to understand that everybody should be held at an equal standard, no matter the race and no matter the gender. That speaks loudly to me. I was raised by my mother only, so I understand the trials and tribulations that women go through on a daily basis to a certain extent," he said.

"I think that it's very important that as much as the [racial issues] we are dealing with at the moment, it's the same for gays and their equal rights. I think equality means a lot. I think if we get that down, sooner or later things will come to fruition and we will live in a positive world."

There has been some debate about whether the NBA returning will be a negative distraction to the social justice matters percolating around the country. But the Wizards plan to make the most of their platform in Orlando, hoping to raise more awareness for the causes they believe in.

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Kara Lawson announced as Duke's next women's basketball coach

Kara Lawson announced as Duke's next women's basketball coach

Boston Celtics assistant coach and former Wizards lead analyst, Kara Lawson, is announced as the next head women’s basketball coach at Duke.

The 39-year-old Springfield, Va. natives basketball resume is quite impressive. Lawson played college basketball at Tennessee under legendary coach Pat Summit and won a gold medal with Team USA during the 2008 Beijing Games. In the WNBA she played 13 seasons in the and helped guide Sacramento Monarchs to a WNBA championship in 2005.

Lawson was hired in 2017 by NBC Sports Washington to serve as the lead analyst for Wizards broadcasts. Last summer, the Boston Celtics hired Lawson as an assistant coach.

Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca, who also is a Duke Board of Trustees member, supports Lawson’s hiring at the school, sources told the Raleigh News & Observer.

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