John Wall's Need for Increased PopularityPosted on January 29, 2014 by Adam Bradley
Last week the NBA announced the Eastern Conference All-Star starters, John Wall was not included. Instead, Kyrie Irving took the point guard spot as he more than tripled the number of fan votes Wall had.
When people begin to discuss John Wall getting overlooked they always say Wall needs to play for a winner and once he does he'll begin to get the recognition. I tend to agree with that thought but it begs the questions: why does Irving get the votes even though he's not on a winning team?
The bottom line is: fan voting for the starters is a popularity contest.
The fan voting has proven even if you're injured or having a bad season if you're a popular NBA player, you'll get the votes. Right now, John Wall isn't "popular" enough among NBA fans.
You could say that maybe fans just think Irving is playing better therefore thats why he earned more votes? Unfortunately thats not the case, feel free to read here.
In fact, Irving even got more votes than Chris Paul (860K to 804K) despite the fact Paul is the better player, plays in a bigger market, plays on a winning team and has made the playoffs before. It all comes down to popularity for these fan votes.
So here's the question: how can Wall become more popular?
Obviously the easy answer is to start winning. With winning comes more nationally televised games and hopefully playoff games, both of which will increase Wall's popularity. But there's more to this subject.
Wall needs to be more viral.
Look at Wall's Twitter numbers. His 900K+ followers tells me he's popular. Kyrie Irving's million + followers tells me he's even more popular.
Look closer at those numbers: usually the more tweeting you do, the more followers you gain but Irving has 200K+ more followers than Wall even though he's tweeted less than 18K times than Wall. In addition, with Irving's one year in College being reduced due to injury, Wall had more TV time in College and has one more year under NBA's bright lights but is still less "popular."
And isn't DC a larger market than Cleveland?
So how does Irving become 3X as popular (according to fan votes) than Wall. Here are some reasons:
He sparked a ton of buzz by challenging one of the best, Kobe Bryant in a one-on-one battle, the video of the challenge goes on Youtube and close to 5 million views later Irving is making an impression.
Although Wall had 1/3 of the voting Irving had, Wall is close. He's playing better than Irving and his team is playing better. Wall is almost a lock to make the All-Star game when the rest of the rosters are announced tonight which will certainly help. But even if his team does better, he continues to play better, if fan voting will continue to be the avenue the NBA uses to name their All-Star starters, Wall will forever be challenged unless he becomes more viral.
Sometimes to go viral you have to take risks. If an invitation presents itself for a slam dunk contest, I think Wall should take it. Same (but to a lesser degree) if a Skills Challenge invitation comes his way, take it.
But with all that said, if Wall isn't concerned with his popularity, enjoys flying under the radar relatively speaking than it is what it is, I'd just hate to see him continue to get overlooked when his performance says he shouldn't.
Wizards fans shared some of their thoughts on this subject:
@WizardsXTRA Kyrie found some success with his flashy handles, but his “Uncle Drew” series really caused his popularity to skyrocket.— Matt Silich (@msilich2) January 27, 2014
@WizardsXTRA Nationally televised games for exposure would be good, NBA could promote him by putting him in dunk contest (ala Griffin)— Minh Duong (@MisterDuong) January 27, 2014
@WizardsXTRA team has to win more games. Teams with winning records get more national exposure. He's a talent, but too few people know.— Ralph Thompson Jr (@SomRandomOlDude) January 27, 2014
@WizardsXTRA do more commercials for sure....his media presence is almost non existent— Will-o-Matic 5000 (@_willcott) January 27, 2014
@WizardsXTRA Not sure if it's been said but I definitely think doing the commercials helps Kyrie. I know for me, it increased my interest— Austin Taylor (@WizardsNation) January 27, 2014
@WizardsXTRA And while he's well on his way to it, leading a *single* playoff birth would do a lot to rebuild the legend of John Wall.— Laughing Cavs (@laughingcavs) January 27, 2014
@WizardsXTRA dunk contest ?— Shawn Glocker (@ssglock) January 27, 2014
@WizardsXTRA Wizards need to be on national TV more often (Come on, NBA), and he needs to show out in those games.— Matt Silich (@msilich2) January 27, 2014