Wall misses one game to honor special friend
The Washington Wizards were without point guard John Wall when they faced the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night because the twotime all-star had a more meaningful event to attend than an inconsequential exhibition game.
Wall traveled to Washington after his team’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night to participate in Saturday’s Light the Night Walk, a fundraising event benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
He did so in honor of his “buddy” Damiyah Telemaque-Nelson, who died weeks before her sixth birthday last winter.
Wall, 25, already was sponsoring for Miyah’s team of friends and family, had made a five-figure donation toward non-Hodgkin lymphoma research and had been promoting the event every day on his social media outlets. But he didn’t expect to make the event. He told reporters Monday that the Wizards’ schedule wouldn’t allow him to. That changed when Coach Randy Wittman approached Wall later in the week and asked him whether he would like to attend.
Wall and Miyah became close as she battled Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. They FaceTimed when she was at the hospital. He introduced her to Nicki Minaj.
She visited him at Verizon Center, spending time with Wall’s nieces and nephews.
Miyah died Dec. 8. That night, an emotional Wall led the Wizards to a double-overtime win over the Boston Celtics and broke down in tears during a postgame interview after dedicating the effort to his friend.
Wall spoke and cried at her funeral in front of the gathering at New Macedonia Baptist Church in Southeast.
“When you care for somebody and the bond just hits, you can’t really control it,” Wall told Dan Steinberg last week. “I didn’t want it to be like, ‘All right, she’s gone. I don’t want to deal with this family [anymore],’ because it was bigger than that. . . . I wanted to still be a part of that family.”
John Wall broke down after a victory Dec. 8 over the Celtics.