Bradley Beal can relate to Michael Jordan when it comes to the pressures of carrying a team.
The Washington Wizards star appeared on the Up in Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson (recorded on April 23) and spoke about watching ESPN's documentary series on Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, The Last Dance, and the newfound appreciation he had for Jordan.
"You know, it's funny," Beal said at the 12-minute mark. "I said, 'Damn, I feel like Mike sometimes.'"
(Warning: contains profanity.)
He continued: "Like, when you have [Scottie Pippen] out, it's like having John [Wall] out, vice versa. It's like, damn, it's tough. You've got to carry that night in and night out. And granted, you see the physicality, you see the grind. It was a different brand of basketball back then. And watching it, you have nothing but the utmost respect for him just to see where he was and where he got to."
The 26-year-old Beal has had to carry the load for the Wizards this season with Wall out and has answered the call, averaging a career-best 30.5 points per game while 6.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds per contest.
It hasn't necessarily translated to wins, as the team is 24-40 and 5.5 games behind the Orlando Magic for the final seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but the young, run-and-gun Wizards have been fun to watch if nothing else. And Beal has quietly put together his best season as he's tried to keep them afloat.