Wake-up call: Wall wants Christmas Day game

Wake-up call: Wall wants Christmas Day game
December 24, 2013, 6:00 am
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Happy Holidays! Wall & Webster interrupt Ariza's interview

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) warms up before the start of the game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.

(David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

Since high school, John Wall hasn't received a Christmas gift. But he would settle for the Wizards playing on Christmas Day, a stage the NBA reserves for its best matchups between teams and marquee players. 

Five games will be played on ABC and ESPN on Wednesday, starting as early as noon and as late as 10:30 p.m.

"If I get to see family and friends its a great Christmas. It wouldn't be bad playing Christmas day. I never have. Never gotten close," said Wall, who hosted a holiday dinner for three families that he "adopted" Monday night near Verizon Center. "That would be fun, exciting to play on Christmas. It's a big day. Everybody in the world is opening their gifts, happy to have Christmas and then get to watch a good basketball game."

Imagine being a family member or close friend of an NBA player. There's nothing that can be purchased for them that they can't get for themselves. 

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Wall signed an $80 million extension in the off-season. Bradley Beal, though just in his second season, says he's the one always playing Santa Claus and the last memorable gift he received was a scooter. Trevor Booker has gotten a Mike Tyson book and a guitar as an NBA player, but he also realizes those gifts were purchased with his money. 

What coach Randy Wittman gets is pretty typical for a father: "Socks, ties and underwear." 

Even a player such as Garrett Temple, who has never had a long-term deal and been in and out of the D-League until this season when he signed for the veteran minimum of $884,000, is left empty-handed. Temple did say owner Ted Leonsis gave the team iPads last season, when he signed with the Wizards in December.

Chris Singleton didn't get a gift but remembers a thoughtful gesture from his mother, who had his car stereo fixed when he got back from a road trip.  

Trevor Ariza insists he has never been a big fan of surprises, even when he was growing up in Los Angeles. 

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"I'm not a gift person. I don't like gifts. I don't like surprises. Always been like that. Even when I was a little kid, I hated surprises. When you're not used to getting gifts from (being) young it don't matter no more. It's whatever," Ariza said. 

But Ariza did get two gifts that stood out. As a teenager: "I got some Grant Hills (Fila sneakers) in '96. I remember. Both my little brothers got Jordans and I got some Grant Hills, which was cool because I liked Grant at the time. Those were the hot shoes out. They were the patent leather ones."

As an adult: "I got a tie with my oldest son's face on it. My oldest doesn't live with me. That was pretty special."

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