Bradley Beal has noticed the Washington Capitals, Nationals and Mystics soar to new heights. After signing a contract extension Thursday that keeps him with the Washington Wizards until at least 2022, he said he thinks he can take the Wizards down the same path.
“I view it as a challenge. I view it as something that I feel like a lot of D.C. sports have been a part of, rebuilding something and building them into championship-caliber teams,” Beal said. “So why not me? Why kind of sell myself short of a great opportunity that I have in my hands right now?”
The All-Star guard said that those other teams’ successes were not a big factor in his decision to stay in Washington, but he “can’t neglect” that they represent what he wants to accomplish.
“Because they’ve all built powerhouses,” Beal said. “They’re having success and continuous success over the last couple years. I can’t ignore it. It’s kind of cliche, people may think, but hard work does pay off. When you have good camaraderie and a good group of people who come together on and off the court, it’s displayed onto the play on the field or on the court. I’m definitely thinking about the other teams in D.C.”
Beal has struck up a friendship with Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov and sometimes attends their games. He and John Wall both had a big presence at Mystics games this season, especially in the playoffs as the team captured its first WNBA title.
As for baseball, the Nationals certainly count in the same category, having won their first-ever pennant and reached the World Series. But to get there, Washington beat the St. Louis Cardinals — Beal’s hometown team.
Nevertheless, the recent renaissance of the District as a sports town had an effect on Beal, who had been courted by other teams as a potential trade target before Thursday.
“Just seeing the atmosphere, seeing how D.C. is,” he said. “D.C. loves sports, period. Whether it’s baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, everything. Even the soccer team’s in the playoffs. So we’ve got everything here. This is a good city, it’s a great city, it’s a super city. It’s a beautiful market.”
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