Sports Spectrum Weekly

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal signs contract extension, aims to give God glory

Before the 2019-2020 NBA season kicks off its regular season next week, the Washington Wizards extended the contract of All-Star guard Bradley Beal on Thursday. According to ESPN, the deal is for two years and $72 million.

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The 26-year-old Beal has spent each of his seven seasons in Washington since being the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Florida. He’s been an All-Star each of the past two years, during which he’s started all 82 games, and last year was his best yet — 25.6 points, 5.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals per game, all career highs.

“This was probably going to be the most important decision that Brad was going to make in his career,” Beal’s agent Mark Bartelstein said, “and we wanted to give [Washington owner Ted Leonsis and new general manager Tommy Sheppard] every opportunity to present their vision for the franchise. And they’ve genuinely done a wonderful job of getting Brad excited about the future and how they plan to build the Wizards team around him.

“Brad has always made it clear to me, that in a perfect world, he would never leave Washington. He has felt an obligation to be the focal point in turning the Wizards into an elite team. He’s thrilled about all the resources that Ted is pouring into the franchise and thrilled how committed [Leonsis] and Tommy are to building something special.”

Washington finished 32-50 last season but has made the playoffs four of the past six seasons. Many thought Beal would be an attractive trade target this season, but he’s committed to helping the Wizards compete in the East — largely because he has such a heart for the Washington D.C. area.

In June at the 2019 NBA Awards event, Beal was honored with the Community Assist Award, which highlights community engagement, philanthropic activity and charity work. Much of his time has been spent with the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School — building and fostering relationships as a mentor to students and basketball players, serving as principal for the day, and surprising the basketball teams with two pairs of shoes per coach and player.

He has also donated game tickets to various community groups, provided toys to the Salvation Army during the holiday season, and relishes the chance “to be able to be in a situation to be a blessing to other people,” he says.

Beal is also a man of faith who says “To God be the Glory” on social media. He said he wouldn’t have reached the NBA without God and his family (he’s the middle of five brothers), and he wears his faith on his body in the form of tattoos. On his left arm is an image he drew himself of praying hands with the verse Philippians 4:13. On his chest is an image of Jesus.

Beal and the Wizards have one final preseason game on Friday in Philadelphia before traveling to Dallas to open the regular season on Wednesday.

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