Though the 19-year-old Wall already employs a personal fashion stylist, he has decided to let his mother pick out his suit for one of the biggest nights in his life, the night Stern is expected to announce that the Washington Wizards have made him the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.
"She won't let me see it," the point guard out of Kentucky said Wednesday at a predraft news conference in Manhattan. "I hope it's good, because she's my mother . . . If it's pink, I'll just have to deal with it."
Wall's mother, Frances Pulley, has been calling the shots, wardrobe and otherwise, for most of her son's life.
It was Pulley who shouldered the load of raising John and his older sister alone in Raleigh, N.C. Wall's father went to prison when his son was nearly 2 years old after he was convicted of holding up a convenience store. John Carroll Wall was released when John was 8 but died soon after from liver cancer.
Pulley worked double shifts in a variety of jobs, including driving a small bus for children and working at a hotel, which meant most of John's childhood was spent with baby sitters.
"We had to struggle," Wall, 19, said.
That struggle seems almost light years away since Wall declared himself eligible for the draft after one year at Kentucky. The consensus is that Wall is the one surefire superstar in a draft that has been thoroughly overshadowed by the pending free-agency period. Wall, who is 6-4 and 196 pounds, averaged 16.6 points and 6.5 assists for Kentucky in his freshman season.
After Wall, the talent pool gets a lot murkier. The 76ers have the second pick overall, and though team president Ed Stefanski hasn't said whom he is going to take, Ohio State shooting guard Evan Turner said he expects to be that player. Turner said Wednesday that he has been inundated with tweets from Sixers fans.
The Nets have the No. 3 overall pick, and they would like to get a legitimate power forward to pair with center Brook Lopez. Since Nets president Rod Thorn has said it would be a stretch to consider Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins a power forward, there is some thought that he is leaning toward Derrick Favors of Georgia Tech. If the Nets go after a standout power forward through free agency, they might draft Wesley Johnson, the swingman out of Syracuse.
At the top of the draft, however, Wall seems to be a sure thing, which has led to the kind of heady existence he never imagined growing up. Wall has become friends with LeBron James and recently turned on the television to find his game being broken down by President Barack Obama. Wall said he's spent much of the past few months flying around the country, getting used to the NBA lifestyle.
"I'm traveling a lot, not staying in my own bed," he said. "I'm getting used to an NBA life. It's not that comfortable. But you've got to do what you have to do to reach your dreams."