Wizards show humility in face of injured veterans

Wizards show humility in face of injured veterans
November 7, 2013, 6:15 pm
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A dose of perspective, even after their first win of the season, can be a good thing. 

The Wizards, who practiced Thursday morning at Verizon Center, had some guests who will be present for Friday's game vs. the Brooklyn Nets at Verizon Center (CSN, 7 p.m. ET). 

Veterans from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center participated in the inaugural Courage Program hosted by the Wizards at their practice facility. 

Hats with "Courage" will go on sale with all of the proceeds going to Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a non-profit that helps those who are grieving the death of a loved one in U.S. military service.

"We try to do it a couple times a year. We sometimes think its tough doing what we're doing, the ups and downs of winning and losing basketball games," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of his 1-3 team. "These guys sacrifice for the country that we live in. … I really enjoy these days when these guys can come in and put a smile on their face while they're going through tough times."

John Wall shot baskets with a wounded veteran in a wheelchair. The players signed autographs and posed for pictures. Coupled with their 116-102 win at the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, there were overwhelmingly positive vibes here for the first time since they opened the season with three consecutive losses. 

"There's only one word to sum that experience up and that's humbling. It's just humbling to go down there. It makes you enjoy the problems that you have because what they put themselves through, and their families through I would never wish that on anybody," Martell Webster said. "A lot of those guys will never be able to write again, yet alone drive a car and they're upbeat and have a smile on their face. That's amazing.

"It takes a lot to muster that up especially after losing so much physically. For them to come out here and be happy the way they are, it changes your whole perspective on life. It makes you appreciate the things that you have. The problems we have as basketball players don't even compare to what they've been through for our country let alone what they put themselves through."

Courage hats will be sold for $25 at the Wizards' team store at Verizon and at merchandise stands for home games. A limited number of autographed ones, signed by Wall, Nene, Webster and Bradley Beal, will be for sale for $50 at the Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation table located behind section 104 on the main concourse. Hats signed by Marcin Gortat, Al Harrington, Otto Porter or Kevin Seraphin will sell for $40.

"It was terrific," Beal said about Thursday's experience. "They lay their lives on the line for us every single day. To have people know who you are and be a part of this, its a big thing. You couldn't ask for anything (more)."