Bradley Beal Grew Up Walking to School Alongside a 2-Time Grammy Award-Winning Rapper

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Then-Wizards player Bradley Beal executes a slam dunk

Bradley Beal has come a long way in the NBA. The third overall draft pick in 2012, he became one of the most important players in modern Washington Wizards history. Now Beal has a chance to make an impact with the Phoenix Suns.

His journey to becoming an All-Star guard started in Missouri, where Beal walked to school with a Grammy Award-winning rapper. 

Bradley Beal has had a stellar career in the NBA

Arguably the greatest benefit of Bradley Beal entering the NBA at 19 years old is that he had so much time to improve.

By the time Beal averaged a career-high 23.1 points in 2016-17, his fifth season, he was still only 23 years old. Now 30 years old, Beal averaged 22.1 points, four rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.1 steals in 695 games and 661 starts across his first 11 seasons. He drilled 46% of his shots and hit an even 37.2% of his three-point shots.

Last season, Beal signed a $251 million five-year max contract to stay with the Wizards. He earned $43.27 million in the 2023-23 season — his first year on this contract. However, Washington traded Beal to the Suns in July 2023. This means Phoenix picks up his tab, and Beal will make $150.61 million over the next three seasons.

Beal grew up in Missouri before he left for Florida

Bradley Beal’s success at the NBA level shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knew him in Missouri.

Beal averaged 32.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game as a senior at Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis during the 2010-11 season. He received the Gatorade National Player of the Year and signed with the Florida Gators out of high school.

During the 2011-12 season, Beal averaged 14.8 points and 6.7 rebounds on 44.5% shooting in 37 games at Florida.

Bradley Beal and the rapper, Nelly, are very close friends

Rap music and professional sports, especially basketball, have been joined at the hip for decades. Bradley Beal is no exception. Growing up in Missouri, Beal was family friends with Nelly, the two-time Grammy Award winner, and walked to school with the “Hot in Herre” rapper.

Nelly has taken the stage in a Beal jersey at several performances over the years. In a 2014 interview with The Washington Post, Beal explained what it meant to have Nelly in his corner.

“It’s awesome, because he’s basically the first one to do something big from St. Louis and just everything that he’s done for the city and he gives back and everything he went through in his life and how he supports the youth. He’s definitely been a big impact on everybody. He supports sports to the fullest and everybody that comes out of St. Louis. So I have to show my appreciation and my love to him as well.”

Beal joked that Nelly told him to take it easy on the then-Charlotte Bobcats, a team that the latter had a small investment in as a minority owner.

Stats courtesy of Spotrac and Basketball Reference