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Off The Bench: All-Star starter Bradley Beal
Shortly after being named an All-Star starter for the first time in his nine-year career, Bradley Beal joined the Wizards Podcast Network’s Off The Bench podcast for an interview. Beal talked about the honor being named a starter, what he’s learned from Russell Westbrook on and off the court, how he’s developed as a leader and much more.
Beal described the feeling of being named an All-Star starter as “surreal,” and that the impact of hearing his name revealed as a starter was in no way dulled by weeks of early voting returns showing him as the leader amongst East guards and praise from media and opponents alike.
“I think it still hasn’t hit me yet,” Beal said. “It’s still kind of processing. My biggest thing is I’m always my biggest critic. It’s a goal I accomplish and (I think), ‘What’s the next goal? What’s the next thing?’ I’m just pushing myself to never get complacent, always working harder to get better. But at the same time, I always embrace my accomplishments for what I did and it’s definitely cool to be a starter this year.”
“It’s the best news of the early start of our year,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said this weekend after Beal was announced as a starter. “It’s well-deserved and earned. He puts a lot of time into it. He’s an elite player, a special player, a special person. I’m happy for him, for his family, his wife and kids, his brothers. It’s such a great honor…I’m proud of him, I’m proud of how he carries himself. He’s just a great, great leader and a person to lead our team.”
Beal said that while he’s constantly working to improve his game, watching film of opponents and adding new moves, the biggest change to his game over the last couple seasons has been mental. He says that Russell Westbrook has had a sizeable impact on the way he approaches the game mentally, bringing the same mindset every single day.
“To be able to have a guy like that who, every single day, has a business-like approach, he’s pushing himself, he’s working,” Beal said of Westbrook. “I endured that. I embraced that. I kind of developed his mindset in a way. If he can do it, I can do it.”
Beal’s impact on the team is well-rounded. He’s been praised all year by coaches and teammates for his leadership of younger players, an aspect of his role that he takes great pride in.
“It’s just me being better at it,” Beal said of his leadership role. “Obviously, there’s going to be more pressure, there’s going to be more attention to me as being the franchise guy. But it hasn’t really changed the dynamic of how I lead and what I do…I’ll stay myself, I’ll always be myself and I’ll continue to work and let me game speak for myself. But I always encourage my teammates. I always encourage them to be better, encourage them to work hard and just it speak for itself.”
For more, check out the full episode.
1:34 – Being named an All-Star Game starter
5:07 – Leading the league in scoring
7:05 – How his mental approach to the game has changed
9:00 – How Russell Westbrook has influenced him on and off the court
12:07 – Leading the Wizards’ younger players
16:53 – The Wizards’ improved play as of late