Most people probably know Bradley Beal as the Washington Wizards’ shooting guard. He also wears the hat of humanitarian. The two-time All-Star was named the 2018-19 NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner, large in part for his work mentoring the students at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in D.C. Last year, Beal served as principal for the day before the season in September, held a private advance screening of Creed II, and surprised the basketball team with two pairs of Nikes each as a Christmas gift. Beal took 10 students on a private tour of the National African-American History and Culture Museum. The relationship continues.
On Tuesday, 24 hours after dropping 35 points and 10 assists to defeat the Detroit Pistons on the road, Beal returned to D.C. to treat 20 students and six staff members to a dinner out at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant. To show recognition for the students hard work, Beal surprised the students with Christmas gift boxes consisting of a Nike gift card, a Beal jersey and tickets to a future Wizards game among other things. It did not stop there as Beal returned minutes later with a brand new iPad for everyone. The evening and gifts easily set Beal back more than $10,000, but he couldn’t care less.
“This means a lot to me, more probably so than them,” Beal explained. “Just to be able to see their reaction, see how grateful they are because I know they will take full advantage of it. I challenged them in the classroom last year and a lot of them have turned their grades around tremendously.”
Another item included in Beal’s gift to the high schoolers was a book, either To Kill A Mockingbird or Just Mercy. Beal especially enjoys the Harper Lee classic because Boo Radley is close to Bradley. The latter is a movie the Wizards just saw an advanced screening of based on this book about the wrongful conviction of Walter McMillian. Material gifts are good and fun, but Beal is also looking to mentally stimulate these young men.
Similar to John Wall, Beal has adopted D.C. as his second home. He has been in the nation’s capital since 2012 when he was just 19 years old. The St. Louis native is a big believe is giving back to the community. All of that put together played a factor in Beal signing an extension with the Wizards this past summer.
“I love it here. Hopefully the love is mutual between the city & me. Everything I’ve done on the court & off the court, I’ve embraced. I embrace this as my second home. I’m always going to be from St. Louis for sure, but I’m almost telling people I’m from DC,” Beal said about D.C. “I thought about it. Think about the relationship I developed with some of these guys. … I thought about it in the [extension] process, it was definitely a factor.”