National basketball fans should be excited about the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. The roster for Team USA includes a handful of household names who each have a chance to make history as the first NBA players to participate in the Olympics. But, there is another player who looks to be the early favorite to win a gold medal: Bradley Beal.
Regardless of the outcome of the 2016 Olympics, their friendship will last long into the future.
Bradley Beal and Jason Tatum have already laid the groundwork for a strong relationship. They were both from St. John’s. The two boys, St. Louis and St. Louis, attended the same school, although there was a five-year difference between them. Today they play together in the NBA – Beal for the Washington Wizards and Tatum for the Boston Celtics. For the first time in their careers they will be teammates at the next Olympics, but will it be their last time together?
Jason Tatum, left, and Bradley Beal of the 2021 U.S. Men’s National Basketball Team laugh after practice at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center as the team prepares for the Olympics in Tokyo, 7. July 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Beal and Tatum both attended Chaminade High School, but never played together. Beal came to the NBA through the University of Florida and was selected third overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Five years later, Tatum was picked third after graduating from Duke College. They are looking forward to finally being teammates when the games begin on the 23rd. July 2021 in Tokyo.
We’re both excited. For one thing, we grew up five minutes apart, Beal said, according to NBC Sports. Two boys from the same high school playing on the same team, I don’t know if that has ever happened in American basketball. We are very happy about that.
Beal and Tatum played in the NBA All-Star Game together, but they were never teammates in the games that mattered. They weren’t even teammates in the warm-up games. Now it’s time for two boys from St. John’s to get their own. Louis to shine in Tokyo.
Two boys from the same neighborhood, same high school, go to the St. Louis Olympics. Louis, it’s a dream come true. It’s amazing, Tatum said.
During the Olympics, Bradley Beal expects guys trying to recruit each other to talk a lot.
Probably a lot… But our main goal is to take the gold. pic.twitter.com/PZ2jPES0rq
– Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) July 8, 2021
A reporter asked Beal about the conversation as boys tried to persuade others to join certain teams and play with each other. I don’t know. I mean, probably a lot, Beale said before turning to his task.
It depends on who is a free agent and who is not, but for the most part we don’t, we can’t mix it up now, he continued. We’re focused on one goal: getting the gold medal back. And of course we all have our individual goals and talents when it’s all over. Then we can address these issues. Overall, we continue to play American basketball and our main goal is to win gold.
Beal and Tatum are close, even though they play on rival Eastern Conference teams. That friendship was put to the test when the Celtics selected Tatum with the third pick of the 2017 NBA Draft. Beal addressed Twitter and said he couldn’t love him more.
Congratulations to my brother @jaytatum! he wrote. But I will say, Jay, it’s nothing personal, I don’t like you right now.
Tatum would never openly admit that he wants to lure Beal to Boston, but it’s entirely possible. Beat has one year left under contract. If the Celtics want to make a move for Beal, they will have to get assurances from the Wizards defenseman that he will sign a contract extension and stay in Boston if he is traded.
If a trade does happen, the Celtics will likely have to let go of a much younger and cheaper player, Jalen Brown. Beal is the top scorer, averaging 31.4 points last year versus Brown’s 24.7. This is an interesting topic, but it should be deferred to a later date. For now, all eyes are on Tokyo.
We’re looking forward to it, Beal said of the Olympics. Even growing up, we were never on the same team. One day. At pickup, we’re never on the same team, so it’s really interesting for both of us. I’m excited about his growth. I look forward to seeing him on the world stage, as do I and everyone else. We have a very good team, but you know Jason and I have a special bond and I’m looking forward to it.
COMPARED TO: Jason Tatum lost $32 million over a technicality with Kyrie Irving
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