NBA All-Star Bradley Beal was drafted with the third pick in the 2012 NBA draft, and he has quickly emerged as a breakout player who can lead a team on both ends of the court. Washington is within striking distance of the eighth and final slot of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They have been inconsistent due to injuries and lack of continuity. They have been better as of late and with averages of 24.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.3 steals per outing, Beal is doing all that he can to keep everything afloat in the nation’s capital.
His most important role has been taking shape over the past six months as Beal and his family welcomed a new edition, Bradley Beal II, into the world. Bradley Beal as a father, is role that he embraces with a heart full of love, dedication and a smile on his face so bright that it could illuminate the darkest of night skies.
I recently spoke to him after a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. I entered the visitor’s locker room and there was a big crowd of media huddled around Beal and his locker. I had gotten there too late to find a good place, and I was unable to jockey for position to rattle off a few questions. A few moments later, everyone cleared out and he was sitting alone, with his feet in a big tub filled with water and ice. I politely asked if I could ask a few more questions, to which he agreed. I could see that he didn’t really want to discuss the game any further and he went from slightly guarded to intrigued once we began talking about parenthood.
We spoke for a brief time, yet the conversation was rich and full of sincerity. Being a parent is a full time job and just because you have a job as the face of an NBA franchise, does not hold the same weight as creating a life and being responsible for the child and their future.
I wanted to ask you about parenthood and being a professional athlete and how tough that is.
It’s not tough, it’s easy.
It’s easy, because you should want to be a father.
It’s nothing like it, until you have a son I guess, or child period. Nobody really truly understands that, it kind of puts you in a different perspective on everything on and off the court—how you carry yourself, how you treat other people, your values and morals—you know, a lot of things change.
Change, how so?
I always think it’s for the good, I think it’s always for the better.
So you think it centers you, it gives you balance?
For sure, for sure, at least I think it should anyway, but that’s just my take on it. I think every man needs to be in a child’s life. I definitely think it’s for the better and for the best, for one, that child, for the family, and for yourself.
How tough is it when you’re on the road and you can’t see him as much?
Yeah, for sure, one-hundred percent. Yeah it’s tough because you don’t get to see him a lot, and you come home and he’s asleep, you see him and you can’t wake him up.
So you just watch him sleep?
Yeah, you get your time when you can, that’s pretty much how it works. It’s definitely amazing to see him grow everyday when I can. It does suck sometime—you know, not being around, being on the road a lot, having to live through FaceTime.
The Wizards have so much potential. Is the team frustrated by the way the season is going?
It can be everything. It could be a little bit of everything. Everything is kind of a trickle-down effect. You try to tame one situation, it kind of flows into another. It kind of flows into different directions, but the biggest thing is making sure we do it together. There’s no separation in here, there’s no pointing a finger. We’re all in this together. We’ve got to get out of it together, that’s the only way it’s going to work. It definitely starts in the beginning, we’ve got to get out to better starts. Big fella’s [Dwight Howard] out, like you guys said before, we’ve got to all step up and do better defensively because that’s where we’re losing games. It’s not offense. It’s always our defense.
If you could pick one Florida basketball team, to represent as the greatest one, which team would it be?
The two championships team [of 2006 and 2007]. It’s gotta be, it’s gotta be. I didn’t get one, so I gotta go with those guys—Jo [Noah], Taurean Green, Al [Horford], C-Brewer, [Marreese] Speights…that whole squad was nice, across the board.