Bradley Beal drives down down, baby, your lane in a Range Rover. (Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE/Getty Images)
Bradley Beal seems really, really intent on making us feel old these days. First, the Washington Wizards shooting guard said that he wore the No. 23 growing up not in tribute to Michael Jordan, but rather because of LeBron James' work with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now, the 20-year-old marksman is sharing stories about being escorted to school as a lad by a before-he-was-famous rapper whose mainstream megastardom began as I was entering college. Thanks a lot, Brad.
Take it away and fetch me my Geritol, Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
Most know him as Nelly, platinum-selling rapper and part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. Bradley Beal also knows him as Cornell Haynes, the family friend who would occasionally walk him to elementary school before hitting it big.
Nelly was a former star athlete at University City High in suburban St. Louis, where Beal’s mother, Besta, was a physical education teacher and athletic director. So, Beal can’t remember the first time he met Nelly, only that it was “ages ago.”
“I knew who [he] was, but I didn’t know,” Beal said of the now 39-year-old Nelly. “He used to walk me to school sometimes, when I was a little kid. He wasn’t as big as he is now, but he was an up-and-coming rapper and eventually ‘Country Grammar’ came out” in 2000. [...]
“[...] 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,” Beal said.
I mean, I can certainly confirm the impact that "E.I." had on a young Dan Devine, so it's good to know that Nelly's influence was felt in equal measure (or perhaps to an even greater degree!) in his hometown among Beal's cohort.
Beal continued the grand tradition of ballplayers performing well in front of rappers during Wizards games, scoring a team-high 21 points on 10 for 18 shooting to lead Washington to a 97-83 win over the scuffling Bobcats, who have now lost six of their last seven games. It was only Beal's second 20-point outing since returning from a right leg injury on Dec. 16, offering a sound reminder that when he's healthy and in rhythm, the sophomore has what it takes to be No. 1, no matter if you like it, ready, take this, sit down and write it. (Yessssssss.)
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