John Wall was hopeful he wouldn't cry during his induction speech at the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night. Once he started talking about Frances Pulley, though, his emotions took over.
"I just wanted to say thank you for being my mom," said the Washington Wizards All-Star.
The 27-year-old recalled his kindergarten days when Pulley would stay in the parking lot after dropping him off at the end of a 45-minute drive. Wall couldn't stay in school for more than 30 minutes, as he was always getting kicked out.
Pulley sometimes even sacrificed paying the power bills so that her son could continue playing basketball. When he was 16 and getting into trouble, she prevented him from playing and lectured him about his future.
"She said, 'You can go down the same road as your dad and your brothers, or you can be somebody very special and change our family's life,'" Wall remembered.
He concluded his speech by putting his No. 11 Kentucky jersey on one more time and expressing his gratitude to the Wildcats.
Wall was the first National Player of the Year in the school's history prior to being drafted first overall by Washington in the 2010 NBA draft.