Yet another losing Wizards season has come to an end -- that's five straight for those who lost track/interest -- and the team packed up their things Thursday, but not before sharing quite the anecdote.
According to swingman Martell Webster, Coach Randy Wittman broke down in tears during Washington's 0-12 start. Apparently, a 53-year-old openly crying was enough to inspire the Wizards for the rest of the season.
“Randy is awesome, honestly. I think this is the most fun I've had as far as the head coach. He’s passionate. He really cares about this team, said Webster, who is set to become a free agent this summer. “I was telling him this today during the meeting, after we lost that 12th game … he’s crying after that game and he told us he cared about us and for me that was the point in the season that (I said to myself), ‘I’m in.’
“Totally in. Bought into the system and when I did that, that’s when my season began turn into a positive light and I started to succeed after that point. That meant a lot. Didn't care about his job. He just cared about guys that he was coaching. That was amazing. That was touching for me. “
Wittman did not deny it, pointing to the Wizards' 101-100 overtime loss to the Hawks Nov. 21 as the catalyst for his raw display of emotion. In that game, Kyle Korver hit the game-winning three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left. Webster would hit what the Wizards thought was the game-winning buzzer-beater on the other end, but it was waved off and they fell to 0-10 on the season.
"The thing that really got me emotional more was the fight and the heart that these guys were putting into it and we had nothing to show for it,” Wittman told reporters. “We had the first victory in our hands. It was over and Korver hits a half-court shot. It’s taken away from you. There was a lot of emotion. This is a game of emotion.
“I’m an emotional guy. I don’t hide things from you guys. I don’t hide things from my players. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. That was the point that showed me that these guys, even though we were 0-12, had a lot of heart, had a lot conviction to go out and continue to fight. I wanted them to know, even though we were 0-12, how much I appreciated that. How much I really trusted in them.”
The Wizards rallied around their coach and finished strong, going 25-25 after being in place to potentially challenge for the worst record in NBA history. And their 29 wins are the most since 2007-08.
Crying in the locker room. New Traditions.
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