Beal wanted ‘one more shot’ with Wall, ‘hated’ rumors of a feud originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
John Wall and Bradley Beal were one of the most athletic, tenacious backcourt duos in the NBA during their prime from 2013-18. Both players meshed phenomenally on the court during that span, leading the Wizards to four playoff appearances in five years.
Eventually, though, the lights dimmed and Wall was shipped off to Houston in a blockbuster trade for fellow All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook. To this day, Beal regrets not having another opportunity to lead Washington to a title alongside Wall.
“I'm way better [now] than what I was when we were younger, playing Boston in [2016-17] and lost in the second round, way better player than that,” Beal said in an interview with Warriors forward Draymond Green on his podcast. “I knew John was pretty much climbing into his prime right around this time. I'm like, ‘well I'm a new newly tuned-up player waiting on this athletic freak of nature to come back, like, let's give it one more shot. Let's give it one more shot.’”
They didn’t get that other shot. Wall was gone, and Russ was Washington's new starting point guard. Even though Westbrook ended up having one of the best seasons for a Wizards player in recent history and sparked a run to the playoffs in his lone year in Washington, losing Wall was hard for Beal to stomach.
“It was tough, bro, because John is a brother—like, still to this day. I could pick up the phone and call John and if I need him, he’s here. And it's the same vice versa,” Beal said.
Wizards fans will remember that, during the time Beal and Wall shared the court together in D.C., rumors swirled of a feud between the two stars. Wall didn’t like playing with Beal and vice versa, the whispers said. Beal set the record straight; those rumors never held water.
“We both hated that there was a picture painted that we didn't like each other, that we didn't like playing with each other,” Beal said. “Us being young guys at the time…we weren't mature enough to just have a conversation. We would kind of read into it. So it's just kind of a silent, ‘Dang you feel like that? Nah, he can't feel like that,’ until eventually, it’s like, ‘alright now, boom, yo bro how you feeling?’ So once we had that conversation it was just, okay that's dead. It's just noise to kind of get us rattled or get us off our track.”
Beal and Wall’s heyday ran its course, and the team’s 2017 playoff run—in which they came 11 points away from an Eastern Conference Finals appearance—was the closest the squad would come to glory. Wall’s body stopped agreeing with him, as repeated knee and ankle injuries along with an Achilles tear derailed the remainder of his tenure in Washington.
Bradley Beal still looks fondly upon his partnership with ‘D.C.’s Point God.’
“I loved playing with John. John, I say to this day, is the best passer I've played with. He's probably the fastest guy I've played with, with the ball,” Beal said. “The toughest part when we moved on from him was, he was injured. The toughest part was there was some stuff that went on in the summer that the front office didn't necessarily abide by… they were like, ‘Okay, we got it. We're done.’ It was out of my hands because I was coming to camp thinking John's ready to go. Boom, next day he's gone. So that was very tough and emotional because he never came back from the injury and we never got a chance for us to play.”
Beal went on to describe how Wall’s injury, though tragic, did give him a chance to develop his own game as the court sheriff for the Wizards. Beal’s development eventually led him to become the NBA’s second-leading scorer during the 2020-21 campaign.
No, Beal and Wall did not win a championship together in D.C. Now, neither of them will play for the remainder of this season—Wall was shut down by the Rockets due to various factors, and Beal because of a wrist injury. Perhaps brighter days lie ahead for both of them.