For most Washington Wizards fans, the last two home games of the 2015-2016 NBA season were pretty meaningless, and that's really unfortunate. After a pre-season of Eastern Conference Finals talk from the Wizards and the Wizards press, we find ourselves less than a month removed from any meaningful basketball with the Eastern Conference SEMI-Finals in full swing. How on Earth did this happen? And those last two home games, by the way, were pretty strong finishes with a deliberately depleted roster against two teams jockeying for playoff position.
For those of us silver lining folks (and let's face it for the purposes of this post...bobblehead collectors), the second to last game against the Charlotte Hornets meant a ton. Finally, after five plus months of waiting, the Wizards handed out a bobblehead at the doors of Verizon Center to us hardcore fans. This is the one and only free bobblehead scheduled during the 2015-2016 campaign. The only other team issued bobble was a G Wiz Kids' Club-only Otto Porter bobblehead available to Kids' Club paying customers earlier in the year, but this was the only freebie.
When the promotional schedule for this season was announced, I initially panned the thought of yet another John Wall bobblehead this year. We got a J Wall bobble on the slate each of his first two years and then season ticket holders got an option on a starting lineup set a few years ago with a third Wall. Why did I need a fourth in John's sixth year here in D.C.?
Now, I'm taking back everything I said about this idea at the beginning of the season. Not only is John the most/only player on our team deserving of an initial or another bobblehead this year, this thing is gorgeous. The team definitely ordered this thing to be constructed and painted by the cream of the crop of the underpaid overseas workers putting these bobbles together into a finished product.
Why am I raving about this? Well first, it actually looks like John Wall. I know, it seems like this should be a minimum standard for bobbleheads, but it's not. No way! Very often we get the generic black man head on top of a body in a Wizards uniform. Check out the four JW bobbles above. In terms of realism, only the third and fourth (counting from the left) bobbleheads in the photograph look anything like John. His rookie bobble on the left looks suspiciously like the Andray Blatche bobblehead issued the year prior and the one next to it (his second year bobble in the brand new Wizards re-branded duds) is absolutely horrendous. It looks like some sort of evil elf or something.
In terms of facial details, it's the eyes, hair, smile and beard that make this thing a dead ringer for John. The beard detail along the jawline is especially effective. And of course with bobbleheads, it's the head that tells the whole story. Nobody really cares about the body because proportionally, they are always way off. Bobbleheads really have an adult head on top of a child's body.
I'm not crazy about the sleeved jerseys (in fact I can't stand them!) so I'm less than enthusiastic about what this bobblehead is wearing. I get that this season's third jersey celebrated the 1970s era Baltimore Bullets so the choice of uni makes a ton of sense here. I just don't like it. On the flip side, the lack of detail on the sleeved jerseys makes it way easier to paint. There are really no workmanship flaws on the front side; it's only when we get to the back and look at the termination of the striping on the top and bottom of the number that leads us to say "yep, I remember now - this thing was free."
Considering the apprehension I had at the beginning of the season, I'm happy about the latest addition to my Wizards bobblehead collection. This is probably the best looking free (if you ignore the rising cost of season tickets) bobblehead I've ever picked up at Verizon Center.
I'm still pulling for multiple bobbles next year. Hopefully Ernie and Ted can dangle a "you'll get your very own bobblehead" in front of some unrestricted free agents as inducement to play here next year.