This is amazing. Today’s Washington Posts carries the story that Washington Redskins punt returner Brandon Banks and Washington Wizards guard John Wall are childhood friends. I am fond of saying that there are only 687 people in the whole world. After awhile, you meet them all again.
What happens, of course, is that your life follows a pattern. You fall into your social, spiritual and career circles and find they are populated by the same people. The circle for Banks and Wall was North Carolina. Their career paths brought two of the most dynamic rookie talents to the Washington sports scene. The come just when the ‘Skins and ‘Zards need a spark. That’s amazing.
My mother was certain the Redskins would keep Banks for the flash and dash he showed in preseason. I, the football expert, poo-pooed the thought. “They are going to say he’s too small,” I said, “and he fumbles too much. Teams don’t keep undrafted players like that.” I had Marcus Mason in mind when I said that.
It turned out that we both were right. The Redskins indeed dropped Banks, only to bring him back to the practice squad a few weeks later. He was promoted to the full roster in October; Washington released RB Keiland Williams to make room for Banks. It’s unlikely that Mike Shanahan could swap Banks and Willams on and off the practice squad as he auditions young talent for next year’s Redskins. Other teams would snatch them away in a blink.
Wizard fans are all amped up over John Wall. He appears to be the real deal for talent with potential to be a better team leader than Gilbert Arenas. But he is a 20 year old kid, a basketball one-year wonder. As we’ve already seen, his body isn’t rugged enough for the pros. He will get the equivalent of his college junior and senior experience this season with the Wizards.
Both Banks and Wall are more promise and potential than realization. The outlook for both are good. Better days are ahead for the DC pro sports scene because they are here. And they knew each other as kids?