Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram already revealed to the media that rookie point guard Lonzo Ball “didn’t take it so well” when Washington Wizards big man Marcin Gortat suggested on Twitter that his teammate John Wall would “torture” Ball when the Lakers take on the Wizards Wednesday night.
If Ball didn’t like that, he’s probably not going to be a fan of what Wall himself had to say about the match-up via Candace Buckner of the Washington Post:
“Nah, no mercy,” Wall responded when asked if he would show leniency to the 19-year-old rookie point guard despite his braggadocious father.
“Certain matchups you really get up for. Like when you play [Golden State Warriors guard] Steph [Curry], you definitely want to have a good game,” Wall said. “I’m playing against [Ball]. [Gortat] said what he said about me. I didn’t say anything. His dad has been talking. … That makes me want to go out there and lead my team and play the best I can play.”
This whole back-and-forth basically emphasizes the downsides of having a 24-hour news cycle in sports. Would Wall have said he would show “mercy” to another player if that player’s father wasn’t bragging about them?
A lot of point guards in the NBA would probably disagree. In fact, the Lakers from just last season would probably disagree, given that Wall dropped 34 points and 14 assists on the team last season, which certainly wasn’t because D’Angelo Russell’s father was talking trash in the media.
The other context deflating this exchange is that Wall in all likelihood won’t even be guarded by Ball much anyway. That unenviable task may just fall to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, whose family has yet to talk trash about Wall in the media publicly, so maybe Wall will show him some “mercy.”
Not actually, though, because Wall is an NBA star. Those guys don’t generally take it easy on other teams, and can find motivation anywhere. It’s weird how annoyed a bunch of grown men around the NBA are at LaVar Ball’s (very transparently) tongue-in-cheek confidence, but it seems like that’s just going to be par for the course all season.
If being thrown into that type of fire immediately makes Lonzo improve more quickly, it may not even end up being a bad thing, but we shouldn’t pretend like Wall was going to go easy on the Lakers if LaVar didn’t say anything.