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:
Hey @ChaseHughesNBCS, just saw your tweet regarding @JohnWall. Quote this: I don’t want to hear a damn thing from Wall about talking to him man-to-man. I showed at one game and waited for him in the locker room; he wouldn’t come out. I showed up again when they played @celtics— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) December 31, 2018
And @JohnWall still didn’t want to talk, @ChaseHughesNBCS. I’ve said nothing to take back and I damn sure don’t hide from anyone. What I said about Wall not being in great shape and struggling periodically was FACT. His appearance at the Rose Bar was courtesy of TMZ, not me!— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) December 31, 2018
And as for my questioning the timing of @JohnWall possibly having surgery, that’s what we feel as fans from witnessing what’s unfolded over this season. Wall knows me. Rich Paul knows me. And there isn’t a soul in sports who doesn’t know how to find me. Any time @ChaseHughesNBCS— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) December 31, 2018
So the next time @JohnWall or any player tells you they are looking for me for a man to-man convo, @ChaseHughesNBCS, tell them to name the time and place and I’ll show up. I’d welcome it...even on my damn vacation. I’m not the one hiding. Never have! Never will!— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) December 31, 2018
Which Wall wasn't about to let go unanswered:
Lol bra I walked passed me wit ur head down afta I got my x ray for my foot afta Boston game...stop cappin bra u know me...IDC who u know from my camp, stop hidin...Seem like u got a personal problem wit me not bout basketball— John Wall (@JohnWall) January 1, 2019
No word yet if they'll agree to make up in the new year.
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
- Wall vs. Irving: Stephen A. Smith says Kyrie's on a different level
- Rosebar Beef: Wall and Stephen A. Smith's rivalry on display
- Options, Options: What can Wizards do with Wall out for the year?