SLAM: After averaging 23.2 points last season, what are your personal goals for the upcoming season? Bradley Beal: Oh man, it’s tough. I haven’t really thought about my own goals yet, but I would say the biggest individual piece is getting back to being one of the best two-way players in the League. Showing that I can really compete at a high level and play a meaningful game. You know, playing in the playoffs, winning in the playoffs, advancing past rounds. Granted, I wanna get back to my All-Star level of play. I really believe that that’s who I am: All-NBA guy, All-Star guy. And I have a good group that can push me to be that every single day. So I’m excited about that opportunity. I get to be around like-minded guys and guys who will push me to make sure that I’m the best version of myself every day.
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The future can be exciting, but with it comes letting go of the past. For Bradley Beal, that meant saying goodbye to the city he and his family have lived in for the past decade and to the organization that drafted him as the third overall pick in 2012. The kid from St. Louis is now leaving as a 30-year-old man, a father and the second-ranked player on the Wizards’ all time scoring list. “It definitely was an emotional time for sure throughout the whole transition of the trade,” he admits. “I’ve been in DC for 11 years and that, that is, uh, a long time, and I’ve established a lot of great bonds and relationships with people in the organization and in the city itself. It was definitely a lot of emotional ties [and] a tough decision to be able to walk away from it, but it was one that was necessary. It’s a new chapter, you know. So I’m excited for it, for both parties, for us, for me moving forward, and for Washington and them moving forward. It’s bittersweet, but I’m happy that I get to move forward into another opportunity.” -via SLAM / July 26, 2023
“It feels like I got drafted all over again,” he says, wearing his Suns uniform for the first time. “I got drafted on my birthday at the age of 19 in 2012. And then here you go, fast forward 11 years later, the age of 30. I’m with a new team. It is definitely coming full circle. Feels surreal in some ways, but I’m definitely excited for this new journey.” -via SLAM / July 26, 2023
There’s a misconception about adulthood that by the time you’re 30, you’re supposed to have it all figured it out. NBA superstars aren’t the exception to that—they, too, have to deal with big life changes, career moves and saying goodbye to people they’ve spent time with. For Beal, that meant his teammates, coaches and the Wizards ownership group. “It was tough to have those conversations [and say] goodbye, but it was also encouraging. Everybody gets a chance to continue to move forward—some guys get bigger opportunities and bigger roles in DC, which [will] be great for them. And now I have a bigger and better opportunity in front of me, too.” -via SLAM / July 26, 2023