Bradley Beal’s decision to re-sign with the Wizards guaranteed him lots and lots of money, and it also continued a trend for him that runs counter to the paths many other NBA stars have chosen. He is remaining with the team that drafted him, pushing his tenure in Washington into its second decade.
Beal’s choice to stick around was appreciated by NBA legend Grant Hill, who caught up with NBC Sports Washington recently to discuss his new autobiography called ‘Game.’
“It was a nice contract. I think it’s refreshing when you see athletes who want to stay in one place. Obviously, he could have maybe tried to go elsewhere. The team hasn’t had great playoff success in recent years, but he’s committed to the franchise, he’s committed to the area,” Hill told NBC Sports Washington.
Hill, a Naismith Hall of Famer, played 18 seasons in the NBA for four different teams. He bounced around and found success at different stops, but admires the connection Beal has made with the city of D.C.
Hill happens to be from the area, having grown up in nearby Reston, VA before he went on to become a star at Duke University and then in the NBA.
“I think he loves the DMV. I think they’ve embraced him and feel like he’s part of their own. So, you pull for guys like that; good people, character guys who want to play where they were drafted,” Hill said.
Beal signed a five-year contract with the Wizards worth a projected $251 million. He did so despite the lure of free agency following a season in which the Wizards finished 35-47 and fell short of the playoffs.
As Hill noted, Beal could have left to join a better team, albeit for a contract that would have paid him substantially less money. Beal made that decision in part because he thinks the Wizards are on a track towards becoming perennial playoff contenders.
With Beal entering his Age 29 season, certainly it would be ideal if the Wizards became contenders sooner than later. Hill is rooting for just that.
“You hope that he can have success there in Washington, team success, before his career is over,” Hill said.
Beal has been to the playoffs five times in 10 years with the Wizards, but has yet to advance beyond the second round of the playoffs. The Wizards have not reached the conference finals as a franchise since 1979.
Stay tuned for more from our conversation with Hill, including stories from his book and his days growing up in Northern Virginia.