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John Wall was born September 6, 1990 in Raleigh, North Carolina. His father, John Carroll Wall Sr. was in prison for the first eight years of Wall’s life after committing armed robbery. John Sr. had previously been incarcerated on second-degree murder charges. One month after being released, John Wall Sr. died of liver cancer. As a result, Wall’s mother was forced to work multiple jobs in order to support both him and his two sisters, Cierra and Tonya. Lacking a father figure, Wall consistently had issues with authority in his life, and was constantly in fights throughout early childhood.

Wall’s only escape from his fragile childhood was basketball. He started playing at an early age when his mother signed him up for AAU basketball for D-One Sports. His passion for the sport was palpable, but his anger and aggression often got the best of him on the court. The first two years of his high school career were played at Garner Magnet High School. His family moved after his sophomore season, and was forced to repeat his sophomore year at Needham B. Broughton High School. Anger-related issues plagued Wall once again when Wall was cut from the team for being a negative influence on the court.

From there, Wall transferred to Word of God Christian Academy where he met Coach Levi Beckwith. Beckwith was the first to see past Wall’s angry outbursts, and began working with Wall, encouraging him and teaching him how to be a team player, rather than a team cancer. This was a turning point in Wall’s life as he went on to have great success in high school and college. In 2010, Wall announced that he would forgo the remainder of his college career and enter the NBA Draft.