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Wizards' Bradley Beal: There's a 'False Narrative' Surrounding Russell Westbrook

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistDecember 11, 2020

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) stands on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Friday, March 6, 2020, in Washington. The Wizards won 118-112. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Bradley Beal has come to the defense of Russell Westbrook as the two stars prepare for their first season as teammates with the Washington Wizards.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Beal said he believes there is a "false narrative" around Westbrook that has been built up over the years.

"He can pass the hell out of the ball. ... I feel like there is always a false narrative on Russ. ... Playing with him for the past week hasn't been too big of an adjustment. It's smooth sailing," he said.

During his introductory press conference with the Wizards last week, Westbrook spoke about being one of the NBA's most misunderstood players:

"Obviously, I'm not the easiest guy to understand or watch play, or whatever people may think. But as a teammate, me as a person and as a father, that's the most important part to me. I stand strong and continue to uplift my teammates and organizations and inspire people around the world. That's kind of all I worry about is impacting and inspiring. That's something I've been with since Day 1 and that's the most important part about me; being able to have this platform and use it to impact and inspire new people around the world because I've been blessed to be able to do so. I feel like that's my blessing, to be able to impact and inspire as many people as possible."

Westbrook has had issues with the media, notably a feud with Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman that was frequently on display during postgame press conferences.

Past teammates and coaches have expressed reverence for Westbrook.

"People see the intensity and the spirit that he plays with," former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan told Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix in 2018. "Unfortunately, people don't see everything that happens behind the scenes."

The Wizards will be Westbrook's third team in three years. Oklahoma City traded him to the Houston Rockets prior to last season.

The Rockets shipped Westbrook to Washington in exchange for John Wall and a lottery-protected 2023 first-round draft pick. The 2016-17 NBA MVP will attempt to get the Wizards back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18.

Westbrook ranked seventh in the NBA last season with 27.2 points per game and shot a career-high 47.2 percent from the field.

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