From the time Darius Robinson-Wallace was able to walk, he was playing basketball. With supportive parents who encouraged his love for the game, he not only grew into a well-rounded player, but also a well-rounded person, displaying multi-talents, on and off the court.
Currently, playing for the Washington Generals – the nemesis to the Harlem Globetrotters, Darius is currently on a world tour where he gets to travel the world, while doing what he loves.
The tour stopped through Canada, and I was able to catch up with Darius and ask him a few questions about the game, his music production, love for sneakers, as well as what’s next for him.
Tell everyone a little about yourself
A: I am from Philadelphia, PA, where I played division two basketball at Bloomsburg University. I am one of four children, I have two degrees, one in Political Science, one in Mass communications. I was originally supposed to go to law school, but fell in love with making money [Laughs], so instead of going to law school, I ended up getting a job. I’m different – I enjoy candles, I’m a super introvert, and I enjoy music.
When did you first start playing basketball?
A: Since I could walk, my dad put the ball in my hand. My mom was more so, play all the sports that you can, while my dad was basketball forward. My mom was — if you want to play this sport, I’ll pay for it, if you want to do this, I’ll pay for it. My mom was a dance instructor she taught hip hop, jazz, and she also did praise dancing at church. I played other sports also – I played football and soccer.
Where are you in your career now and where do you see your career going from here?
A: Right now it’s kind of just starting, because I didn’t have plans to play basketball professionally at all, I didn’t have the same love for the game as I did after college, I was more so focused on how can I create a family and how can I be financially successful in life.
Now, I want to continue to travel the world and play sports. There is no better job than this – being able to travel the world for free and get paid to play basketball, that’s not a job to me, it’s fun.
What characteristics do you think makes a well-rounded ball player?
A: Discipline, team-oriented person – you definitely have to be a good teammate no matter if you’re a starter, or the last guy on the bench everybody has to be a good teammate no matter what, and I’m talking about as far as being nice to people, speaking to people every day, being approachable.
Dedication, working on your game outside of practice or scheduled workouts – you have to actually want it, because once you get to a certain level, everybody is either just as good as you, or better, so how bad do you want it, do you want to go home and work on your game, or you’re just relying on natural talent to keep you pushing forward, a lot of times natural talent can only get you so far.
If your teammates had to describe you in three words, what do you think they would be?
A: Observant because I’m always looking around, always watching. A hard-worker; I always go early, and I always work on my jump shots, and I’m working on my game, and then I would say funny, because I always have a comment, or I’m instigating the situation, always making it a fun time.
I’m also very team-oriented. In the mornings I am always speaking to everybody, always up, always have a positive attitude, always ready to go – good energy, that’s definitely what a lot of people say, and they say it to me without me having to say anything like “hey you got good energy” I’m a good teammate, I’m going to pick you up when you’re down.
In your opinion, which one would go further? A player with tremendous talent and lack of work ethic, or a player still working on their craft with a strong work ethic?
A: A player working on their craft with a strong work ethic, because you can’t coach effort at all – that’s one thing you’re not able to coach. Once you get to a certain level, talent can only take you so far, because everyone is just as good as you or better.
There are a few guys who are freaks of nature like LeBron and KD, but there’s other people who have to work hard every day. Myself, I’m not one who’s always the best, so I have to work on my craft on and off the court, so definitely a player who is working on their craft and has a strong work ethic.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to play ball on the level that you play?
A: Work hard. I went to college, I played basketball I played all through high school, didn’t have as many accolades as everyone else, however, I was a hard worker, and just continue to work on my craft, so I would say continue to work and just want more for yourself, never be complacent and always be hungry. Also, being a good person and a good teammate, because that’s a part of the game. Being coachable, being part of a team environment and being able to gel with the people around you -that matters.
Who currently is your favourite basketball player and why?
A: My favourite player will always be Kobe. I have been a big Kobe guy, I was born into it because my dad was a big Kobe Lakers fan. When they came out with Xfinity where you could pause the TV live and rewind, games turned into film sessions – you see how he do this, you see how he do that? You want to be good, you better be able to do that. Kobe Bryant was always my favourite player, still is to this day.
I don’t have a favourite player outside of him right now, the only other player I’d say is Jaylen Brunson, and Langston Galloway [Laughs] Langston Galloway for sure, he’s actually someone that I have a close connection with. He currently plays for Atlanta’s G league team, and he was always a good person, respectful, was a hard-worker, and that’s something that I can respect.
Now he has his own sneaker contract, that’s definitely someone I can look up to, and I still talk to him to this day, and he’s cordial. Most NBA players, once they get on, they don’t talk to people they knew in the past. Him, I feel like I can dm at any time and ask for advice, or just be like “yo bro, I need some help with this” Stuff like that, it means a lot to me.
How was your experience in Canada?
A: It was amazing. We went all around – London, Toronto, Montreal, Oshawa, Windsor, Laval, Niagara Falls. I had an amazing time, the people are super nice. We got shown a lot of love over here. I went to Niagara Falls, ate some poutine, the people are amazing and loving.
Have you had aspirations in playing in the NBA?
A: I would play in the NBA, but I never had the actual goal to play in the NBA, my goal was always to go to law school, and use basketball as a tool to get me through basketball and law school. My mom will tell you that, I never wanted to go to the NBA. I was realistic, I had realistic goals.
Apart from basketball, you produce music. What type of music do you produce and how would you describe your sound?
A: Right now, I make reference tracks for your favourite artists. As a black producer, I try and be diverse, I do hip hop, R&B, house music, anything under the sun. My music listening taste is very diverse as well.
We know you can play ball and produce music, do you have any other hidden talents that the world should know about?
A: I play piano, I also play the saxophone, back when I was in 5-7th grade. I’m actually very musically inclined. With music, I’m a visual learner. I can see somebody do it, and then go do it myself.
That’s one skill that I have that I’m really proud of. That’s how I started producing music, my friends are all good rappers, but I wasn’t, so somebody had to sit behind the computer and record us, so I started watching YouTube tutorials on how to make music, and that’s pretty much how I started making music and producing.
A big part of basketball culture is sneakers, which you are a fan of. Do you have a favourite pair? Would you ever want to create your own shoe line? If so, what would that look like?
Jordan 3’s. These are my favourite. If I was to create my own line, they would look something like dunks and the logo would probably just be a “W” because everybody calls me Wall. It’s kind of hard right now, because everybody is doing their own shoe. It’s kind of difficult to create my own shoe and not get sued by Nike. [Laughs]
Would you ever come back to Canada?
A: I definitely would, for sure. During the 2016 presidential election, I tried to get citizenship, but the website was overloaded. I do have plans on coming back, I want either dual citizenship or residency there. Canada is definitely one of my destination places to have a home.
So fun question – since everyone is so into zodiacs these days, what is your sign?
A: I’m a Pisces, my birthday is March 8. Although, I don’t really believe in that stuff. I could tell you right now that I’m a Sagittarius, and you’d believe it. [Laughs]
Where can people keep up with you, and see what you’re up to next?
A: On instagram @dariuswall1