Following Washington’s comeback win over Cleveland on Wednesday, Wizards star Bradley Beal said during his press conference that his grandmother died Tuesday and that he played in the game against the Cavaliers to honor her.
“My granny, she’s like my mom 2.0,” Beal said. “She is super special, and I know the ultimate thing she would’ve wanted me to do is go out there and fight and play. As hard as it was tonight, that’s what she wanted. Hopefully, she’s proud.”
Beal did not play well Wednesday, which he admitted after the game when crediting his teammates for the win that improved the Wizards to 8-3 and propelled the team to first place in the Eastern Conference.
He was 4 of 19 from the field and scored a season-low 13 points. In the prior two seasons, in which he averaged 30 points per game in both, Beal scored 13 or fewer points only one time.
“Our guys, they won this game,” Beal said. “I wasn’t in it mentally, physically, emotionally. But my teammates won this game in every shape and fashion. They competed, start to finish. When we were down 10-plus points, we still stayed the course and battled it out.”
While Beal’s scoring output wasn’t what it normally was, he did grab seven rebounds and dish out seven assists, including the helper on the game-winning 3-pointer from Kyle Kuzma in the game’s final seconds to complete the 10-point fourth-quarter comeback.
“When I passed the ball to Kuz in the corner, I knew she was in the play. I just said: ‘Touch this play. Just let me know you’re here, that you’re watching.’ I just knew she was. She didn’t care if I scored 30 or 5. She just wanted to watch me play. She knew I was going to play hard and play well for her.”
Beal learned the news when the team landed in Cleveland Tuesday. He didn’t tell his teammates because he wanted the team focused on the game, but forward Montrezl Harrell, who frequently does joint press conferences with Beal, said the team could tell something was wrong with their leader.
“You never know what someone’s going through in their personal life, no matter who they are,” said Harrell, who led the team with 24 points and 11 rebounds. “He was dealing with stuff that was really heavy on his heart, and we wanted to rally around him to let him know we were there for him.”
“I’ve never lost anybody close to me. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to feel. I don’t know who to go to,” Beal said. “But it’s awesome to have teammates, an organization, a coach who loves you and supports you and who has your back.”
Beal said he’ll remember his grandmother for the “many life lessons” she taught him and his four brothers.
“The way I am today and who I am is a lot because of her. That just trickled down to my mom and to me and her boys, and now that’s going to trickle down to my boys,” said Beal, who has two young sons. “As tough as it is, I’m definitely happy and proud that she’s in a better place.”