Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — John Wall’s life will change forever Thursday night.
Not only is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards, but Wall’s sneaker commercial will make its television debut during the draft.
“To have your own commercial is a dream come true,” Wall said Wednesday during a meeting with the media.
Yahoo! Sports reported that Wall inked a five-year, $25-million deal with Reebok.
The “ZigTech Slash” is part of the company’s ZigTech collection.
Wall said he had other offers but he wanted to be the face of Reebok.
“I needed to grab the opportunity and run with it,” he said.
Yao Ming wears Reebok but the company hasn’t had a star since Allen Iverson.Wall’s connection to Reebok dates to the summer of 2007, when he had a breakout event at the Reebok All-American Camp in Philadelphia playing against Brandon Jennings.
“When I got first got known on the national scene, I went to Reebok Camp so it started from there,” Wall said.
Earlier this month, Wall and his agent, Dan Fagan, met with Reebok reps in Boston to discuss a potential deal.
“They had a great plan,” Walls said. “When we first got there, there was 1,000 people in there. All the workers had a shirt on with me on it. It was crazy. I didn’t know what to do so they got me to do my dance in front of all those people. That was crazy. I went in to the room and they had a great game plan of how they were going to market me.”
Wall followed the lead of other NBA players with exceptional marketing and sneaker deals, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.
“LeBron and Kobe and Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard, those guys are very marketable,” Wall said. “The companies, the brand they signed with, I wanted to be a guy like that.
“Reebok gave me an opportunity to have a commercial, have my own shoe, so that’s what I looked into and I feel it was the best situation for me at that time.”
KENTUCKY TRIO IN THE GREEN ROOM
As Wall was surrounded Wednesday by reporters at a corner table at the Westin Times Square, his former Kentucky teammate, DeMarcus Cousins, sat at a nearby table wearing his now trademark black-framed glasses.
“You never know him, he has glasses over there,” Wall cracked. “He’ll pull anything out.”
Asked by one reporter if his glasses were “a fashion statement or an optical necessity,” Cousins quipped, “That’s just Boogie.”
Wall and Cousins are among five Kentucky players who could go in the first round, along with point guard Eric Bledsoe and big men Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton.
Wall, Cousins and Patterson were invited to the Green Room.
“It makes it a lot more comfortable having your brothers around,” the 6-11 Cousins said. “We can call each other, talk about what we are going through because we’re basically going through the same things. It’s just a lot more comfortable.”
Cousins has taken some heat about his conditioning, with ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb going so far as to compare him to NBA busts Bryant “Big Country” Reeves and Benoit Benjamin.Cousins, who weighed 289 pounds during a recent Nets workout, didn’t deny that his conditioning needed work.
“I believe I need to improve on my conditioning and my defense,” he said.
Wall defended his former teammate’s conditioning, saying “it was basically because he got a lot of fouls called on him and so he adjusted to it. He played more minutes, so it wasn’t just conditioning.”
As for concerns about his character, Cousins replied: : “I play with a fire. I’m an aggressive, physical player. I play off my emotions a lot and that’s what makes me who I am.”
Wall again defended his friend.
“If you really just have a time or a day or two to sit with him, he’s funny, likes to joke around, have a good time,” Wall said. “Just like to live life and have a good time.”
The 6-9 Patterson, the elder statesmen of the Kentucky group, didn’t learn he had been invited to the Green Room along with Wall and Cousins until around noon on Tuesday when he was in Kentucky.
“All of us wanted to be in the Green Room,” Patterson said. “My teammates were here and I wanted to be alongside them. And I felt like I was deserving of being here and finally it happened.”
Patterson said he thought Bledsoe would be in New York Thursday. As for Orton, whose draft stock has dropped, he said, “I don’t know where he’s at. I’m not sure.”
Patterson picked out his own outfit, “down to the shoes, the tie. Every single inch, every detail, I picked myself.”
Wall’s mom chose his suit and he still hasn’t seen it.
“My mom picked it out,” he said. “Hopefully it ain’t no pink or green. I don’t want to get picked on like Jalen Rose and them.”
(The AP contributed)
Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.