Losing a friend trumps getting a win

By Kaleb Page

Winning a game gives you one of the best feelings in the world. No matter who the opponent is, the way it happens, etc. A win makes everything just that much better.

When an athlete steps on the court or field of play, all distractions and outside matters should be just that; outside of the game that is about to take place. However on Monday night one athlete could not hold back his emotions on one issue outside of the game.

John Wall, as many NBA watchers know, is an electrifying talent that has the potential on any given night to do amazing things for the Washington Wizards. No different was Monday night when Wall put up 26 points on 10-17 shooting, 17 assists (career-high),  three steals and seven rebounds. The game ended with a score of 133-132, a Wizards win that took double overtime and an amazing stretch by Wall that had the game-winning and-one basket to take the lead with seconds remaining.

Sounds like the perfect basketball night right? Wall had almost a triple double, hit the game winner and beat a tough team in the Boston Celtics. Like most times after a big game, the big time player gets pulled aside to be interviewed on his performance and the road ahead. What came next shows a side more people need to see with sports today.

John was pulled aside and asked some questions about the game by CSN Washington’s Chris Miller. One question in particular about Wall’s emotions after this win brought out the one thing weighing on his mind all night. The loss of his friend who was battling cancer.

Wall met a six-year-old girl named Miyah Telemaque-Nelson last March just months after she had been diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. From that point the two were best friends, even prompting Wall to do a campaign to get a meet and great with Nicki Minaji for Miyah (one of Miya’s favorite artists). This entire season Wall has been wearing Miyah’s name on his shoes. Even two weeks ago CSN Washington reported that the two talked over FaceTime, making the text message he received prior to the game of her death hit even more.

In response to the question posed about his emotions, the death brought Wall to only say a few words before being unable to continue.

“This is an emotional game for me. This is for Miyah, one of my closest friends I lost. I met [her] last year. It’s just tough. To see a little kid that fights so hard [against] cancer and can’t beat it. This game is for her. My jersey, my shorts, I’m going to give it to her family. It’s a tough day for me.”– John Wall

After the game wall released a group of photos on his Instagram account of him with Miyah that further showed the friendship they shared and how much Wall cared for what he said was his “buddy.”

“If you were blessed to meet and get to know Miyah you know how special of a little girl she was. I’m saddened by the news but I know that she’s in a better place. Keep her family in your prayers. I’ll definitely miss my buddy. Rest In Peace Miyah.” – From Wall’s Post on Instagram

Lost in the fray of allegations, sexual assaults and cheating scandals are the moments and stories that truly emphasize what makes everyone gravitate to sports no matter what game or event is being played. I know the negatives grab the headlines more and get more publicity, but why not take more time to find these stories? Is it easier to find these negative cases, probably so since a lot involves public record and televised court cases; does it also point to a sense of laziness by sports coverage? I think that it does point to some form of laziness to let stories like the one was see here with John and Miyah get tossed to the side for negative ones time and time again. Hopefully we do see in the future a progression to more stories highlighting the positive moments we have in sports.

Rest in peace Miyah.

This entry was posted in NBA and tagged , , , on by .

About Kaleb Page

Kaleb is a Senior, sport management major with a minor in journalism at Bowling Green State University. Including his involvement in the Maxwell Project, Kaleb is also an active member of the Sport Management Alliance and the Bowling Green Radio Sports Organization. He enjoys watching all types of sports competition from the traditional forms of basketball and football to the emerging areas like mixed martial arts. His favorite teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Cincinnati Reds, Ohio State Buckeyes (football &basketball) and Columbus Crew SC.

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