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Beal commits to building something special in D.C.
When the Wizards drafted Bradley Beal all the way back in 2012, they knew they had drafted a special player and person. That June date he was drafted, Beal’s 19th birthday, marked the beginning of what will be at least a decade-long partnership.
On Thursday, Beal made a long-term commitment to the Washington Wizards, signing a two-year contract extension beginning in 2021-22.
“It’s a super city. It’s a beautiful market. I love it. I love D.C,” Beal said Thursday. “This is where I’ve always wanted to be, and this is where I want to be the rest of my career.”
In his second straight All-Star season, Beal averaged career-highs in points (25.6), assists (5.5), rebounds (5.0), steals (1.5) and blocks (0.7), which made him the first player in franchise history to average at least 25 points, five assists and five rebounds in a season. Off the court, Beal won the 2018-19 NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his work with Ron Brown College Preparatory High School and in the greater D.C. community.
“Both the Wizards organization and the city of Washington have been committed to supporting me and my family since the day I was drafted and I feel blessed to be able to show my commitment back to them,” said Beal. “I’m proud to continue leading this team both on and off the court and look forward to being part of building something special.”
Over the summer, Monumental Sports & Entertainment Chairman and CEO Ted Leonsis kept Beal in on the eventual hire of general manager Tommy Sheppard, the creation of Monumental Basketball, and the team’s draft and free agency plans. The organization made sure their two-time All-Star shooting guard knew how much they valued him and wanted to include him in their long-term plans.
Beal helped lead the charge in getting the Wizards to come to D.C. earlier than they had in past years, with players in the gym right after Labor Day. With so many new faces on the roster, he wanted to begin to build something great. By the second week of September, the entire team was participating in voluntary workouts in the nation’s capital.
“He [Beal] was so committed throughout the summer,” Sheppard told the media on Thursday. “He came in, in September, and had everyone out here working out. All those actions showed somebody that really wanted to be here.”
When Sheppard was officially promoted to general manager in July, he made it clear that the team would give Beal whatever it took to stay for the long run. The organization wanted to model the franchise after Beal – working hard when nobody is watching, playing hard, leading with high character, and being a staple in the community. Sheppard, head coach Scott Brooks, and the team strategically drafted, signed, and re-signed players with a strong work ethic and high character.
“Brad is the Washington Wizards. How he represents, how he plays,” Brooks said. “He’s the perfect example and the perfect guy for me to bring up when I talk to players.”
“We’re so happy for Bradley and his family and certainly for our franchise we feel this validates what we’re trying to do," Sheppard said.
Beal will begin his eighth NBA season with the Wizards on Wednesday, with many more Wizards season openers to come. He will lead a young team that will play hard every night and do whatever it takes to win. Beal understands that this season is about development and may test his patience, but he’s ready to lead this team. With John Wall’s eventual return and young pieces like Thomas Bryant, Troy Brown Jr., and Rui Hachimura, Beal is ready to build something special in the nation’s capital.
“We can develop great relationships in here and keep getting better every day, and keep it about basketball and just keep pushing, pushing, pushing, and make it second nature every day,” Beal said. “Just develop those winning habits, and those things carry over. And it’s not by accident to see success of other teams and organizations when you hear about what they do and how their approach is to the game.
“I love the fact that we’re young. It’ll be a challenge like I said before. It won’t be easy. It’ll be some — a lot of bumps in the road. But I think now I’m in a place where I can be at peace with it and I can be patient with it and understand that it’ll be a lot on my shoulders. But I’m ready for it.”