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Wizards guard John Wall loves Soul Cycle classes because they are challenging, even for him

NBC Sports Washington

Wizards guard John Wall loves Soul Cycle classes because they are challenging, even for him

In the world of exercises classes, Soul Cycle has become nothing short of a phenomenon.

With its exhaustive workouts, club-like atmosphere of dark rooms and booming music, spin classes have been taken to an entirely new level. The calorie-burning payoff and trendy appeal have brought countless celebrities on board like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Tom Cruise and Kevin Bacon.

But it's one thing for Maverick from Top Gun or Ren from Footloose to swear by a new workout method. It's another for Wizards point guard John Wall, an NBA All-Star, to provide a testimonial.

Wall, 28, is one of the best in the world at a sport that requires its players to be in remarkable physical shape. Known as the fastest player in the NBA, Wall can maintain his burst night after night throughout 48-minute games, and do so at 6-foot-4 and over 200 pounds.

Even for a guy who often matches up with Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving, Soul Cycle pushes Wall to his limits.

"It's really tough," he told NBC Sports Washington. "You've gotta think. Bro, you're going 30 minutes hard. It's a challenge for me. It's a challenge to try to continue to ride the bike for a long period of time. It's just something new. I like challenges."

Wall's view of Soul Cycle may match up with many who have participated in classes before. He picks his favorite instructors based in part on their music choices. 

"The fun thing is you get to listen to music. In game, you don't get to listen to any music unless they play it during a timeout," he said.

Wall likes to work out to trap music and that has often lined him up with a local instructor named Jonas, who has also trained Michelle Obama and other celebrities making stops in D.C. [full disclosure: the wife of a super cool Wizards reporter also considers Jonas her favorite instructor]

Wall also pays attention to the room when he's on the bike. Classes often host as many as 40 to 50 people and the machines are stacked closely together. Wall is competitive as a professional athlete and doesn't leave that drive at the door.

"It's challenging because you see the person next to you and you're like, 'if they ain't stopping, why am I gonna stop?' When you're working out with other people, it pushes you. You don't want to be the guy who is the sucker in the group or the sucker in the class," he said.

Wall has been doing Soul Cycle classes for over a year now and appears to be an early adopter in the workout world. He says the next wave to sweep the country may be Rise Nation.

Like Soul Cycle, Rise Nation is a class that ranges from 30 minutes to an hour and is heavy on the music. Except, Rise Nation utilizes versaclimbing, which works both the upper and lower body on a machine that simulates climbing a ladder.

Wall will seek any edge he can find to stay ahead of the competition in the NBA. Sometimes, that means enrolling in a class at his local workout studio, just like the rest of us.



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Wizards are nearing important decision involving Jordan McRae's two-way contract


Wizards are nearing important decision involving Jordan McRae's two-way contract

The Washington Wizards return to action after the All-Star break with their next game on Friday against the Hornets. Not long after that, they could have an important roster decision to make.

Guard Jordan McRae is nearing the end of his 45-day two-way clock. Players signed to two-way contracts are allowed a maximum of 45 days at the NBA level and McRae has only nine remaining, according to a person familiar with the situation. 

Once those nine days are up, he will not be allowed to play for the Wizards until the regular season ends for the Capital City Go-Go, their G-League affiliate. The Go-Go play their final game on March 23.

After those 45 days, the Wizards would also have the option to convert McRae's two-way deal to a standard NBA contract. But it appears unlikely they will do that based on the fact they have just $153,433 separating them from the luxury tax threshold (estimate via Spotrac). They just made a pair of trades to get out of the luxury tax and have no plans of going back in.

The 45-day clock has some specific rules that could help the Wizards' cause. Travel days do not count against the 45-day limit and neither do off-days on the road. Five of the Wizards' first eight games out of the break are away from Washington.

The 45 days are also not counted until G-League training camp, which generally begins about a month after NBA camps open. So, the 45-day maximum can technically be stretched to around 70 over the course of a full NBA season.

McRae, 27, has appeared in 19 games for the Wizards after joining them as a free agent last summer. He is averaging 4.3 points in 9.1 minutes at the NBA level.

He has been a star for the Go-Go, averaging 29.9 points (most in the G-League), 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He was named a G-League mid-season All-Star.

Surely, McRae would like an NBA contract, but it's worth noting he gets paid more money the more time he spends with the Wizards. Two-way players can earn roughly $300,000 more by playing out their 45 allotted days in the NBA.

Also, the Wizards would like to keep him beyond this season, according to someone with knowledge of their plans. They see him as part of a growing group of players they would like to retain that is headlined by Tomas Satoransky and Thomas Bryant. To keep McRae, they can make him a restricted free agent.

If the Wizards don't convert his contract, however, McRae will not be eligible for the playoffs this spring, if Washington is to qualify.

At this point, it appears likely the Wizards avoid McRae's 45-day clock from expiring. In order to do that, they may have to keep him down with the Go-Go for much longer than they would prefer to.


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Former Wizards center Brendan Haywood reflects on his time spent with Michael Jordan in D.C.

Former Wizards center Brendan Haywood reflects on his time spent with Michael Jordan in D.C.

Former longtime Washington Wizard Brendan Haywood sat down with Chris Miller in Charlotte for one all-encompassing Wizards Talk podcast interview you'll want to hear. 

After a four-year career in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Haywood declared for the NBA Draft and was selected by the Cavaliers with the 20th overall pick before being traded to the Orlando Magic, who then sent him to Washington. 

His rookie year (2001-02) just so happened to be the first of two seasons in Washington for one Michael Jordan. Jordan, well past his prime during this time, still left quite an impression on the rookie, even after all these years later. 

You really got to see the myth behind all the greatness. He wasn't good by accident. You got to see a guy that's 40 years old still get to the gym at 8 o'clock working on his game. 

The big man's best statistical season in Washington came during the 2007-08 campaign, where he averaged 10.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.7 blocks while shooting it over 50 percent from the floor. 

To listen to Haywood's full interview, click the podcast below.